Featured fighter: Justin Bonitatis
As we return from back to back XFE events we bring you another fan favorite this week as our featured fighter. Justin Bonitatis has repeatedly proven that he is more than just a champion wrestler with his impressive amateur mixed martial arts record of 4 wins and 1 loss. XFE is excited to announce that Justin will be making his return to the cage December 7th at Harrah’s Philadelphia against opponent William Dill.
XFE: As a 2 time NCAA All American wrestler, do you feel there are any additional expectations of you as an MMA fighter?
Justin: Many people believe great wrestlers will always make great MMA fighters, but its not that clear cut. One has to have the ability to carry over the skill set they have in the wrestling area to the mma scene. MMA “wrestling” and collegiate wrestling are very different. I do believe wrestling is the best base to have when starting MMA training if the individual is beginning with one aspect of MMA and looking to learn the others. It allows you to feel comfortable on the ground with grappling as well as body control and balance while on your feet. The biggest thing that sets wrestlers apart from the majority of athletes doing MMA is the WORK ETHIC and the ability to bite down on your mouth guard and grind through fights. I have always set high goals for myself and will continute to do so. I train relentlessly and expect a certain result from myself when I compete, those are the expectations I pay attention to.
XFE: With an amateur record of 4-1 what do believe has been the source of your success?
Justin: Source of success has been my mental toughness and ability to embrance the grind of MMA. I love to train, I love to compete, I love to fight.
XFE: What do you feel is the toughest part of preparing for a fight?
Justin: Fighting truly is one of my passions, so I actually enjoy training and preparing to fight. When my switch goes on, I look foward to training camps and pushing myself everyday. Toughest part is staying healthy and hungy, combat sports are physically and mentally demanding.
XFE: Out of your five amateur fights, what fight stands out most for you and why?
Justin: Winning my first MMA belt was self rewarding but in reality I fight, enjoy the win if thats the case, and then move on. The past is irrelevant when competing in wrestling or MMA. At any match or fight there will be a winner and there will be a loser, just have to train yourself mentally and physically to get the job done.
XFE: As you approach your next fight with XFE, how will you prepare differently for this fight than from your past fights?
Justin: I won’t prepare differently, like I’ve said throughout this interview eveything is earned in life. I teach highschool during the day and then go to the gym immediatley after work to train every aspect of MMA. The only way to climb the ladder is by putting the time in practices, so thats exactly what I do and will continue to do.
XFE: What are your interests outside of MMA?
Justin: Outside of MMA, I’m a big family person. I spend my free time with my family and friends. I’m a laid back guy for the most part, but definitely an adrealine junkie when something interesting and exciting presents itself. Teaching and coaching wrestling are some of my other passions.
XFE: What are your goals as an MMA fighter?
Justin: I think it’s important to have short term goals as well as long term goals when setting them. Short term goals consist of staying healthy, continue to train, and winning my next fight. Long term goals are to break through and make it to the big show, to become a champion. If that’s not your goal as an MMA fighter, you are in the wrong sport. But in reality it’s a large and dangerous ladder to climb, so I train and take it step by step.
XFE: Anything else you would like your fans to know about you?
Justin: Just want to thank XFE for asking me to do this and I look foward to getting back in the cage December 7th to fight and get my arm raised. When it’s all said and done, there is no better feeling than standing in a cage getting your arm raised. My fans can follow me on instagram at COACH165 to follow my journey on accomplising the long term goal.
Tickets for Justin’s upcooning XFE fight can be purchased directly from him or at www.xfemma.com.
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Want to get involved with XFE as a sponsor or fighter? Contacthelen@xfevents.com for information.