Monday, December 08, 2008

Brad Blackburn's "Ready to Go"

Originally posted on

On December 27, 2008, ‘Bad’ Brad Blackburn will be mixing it up with Ryo ‘Piranha’ Chonan (15-6-0) at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, for UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008.

Brad, a former IFL star, gave UFC fans a sneak preview of his skills at Fight Night 14, when he defeated James Giboo via a leaping knee, followed by other miscellaneous strikes. Unfortunately, Brad sustained some injuries during the fight, but he says he’s now right to go for UFC 92.

“I’ve been doing good. Of course I had to have my thumb connected back to my hand, so I had a cast on for a while. Then I fractured my right hand, which resulted in my having two messed up hands in the last fight. But everything’s right now: I’m ready to go,” says Blackburn.

At the time of this interview Brad is in Seattle talking to between workouts. “I had my first session at 10 this morning, when I did a couple of rounds of just wrestling, went over some ground technique, and then did circuit training. I will start again somewhere between five and seven this evening. I run Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Tuesday and Thursday mornings I do wrestling and circuit training.”

When we last spoke with Brad he was in the Tigersharks and being coached by Maurice Smith, but that is all in the past. “I train with Dennis Hallman, Carlos Fernandez – my boxing coach, and Reese Andy at West Coast Fitness. But I train with quite a few people. I bounce around gyms; however, for the most part those are the people I train with consistently.

“Drew Fickett still comes up here every once in a while… He hasn’t been here for a while, but I’m trying to get him to come up again… He comes up every couple of months and he’ll stay for about a month.”

Brad, what’s it like not having to fight every two months or so the way you did in the IFL?

“I like it better because you get burnt out fighting too regularly. You fight every two months and it’s like there are no breaks at all. You’re body needs a break and you can’t take one because you’ve got to fight in two months. You’re constantly fighting and training through injuries, and I don’t think it’s good. I think about three times a year is good to take a fight.”

What things do you miss about the IFL?

“I don’t miss much. The people who were my friends are still my friends, and I have a similar training atmosphere to what I did then. Actually, my training situation continues to get better here and I still train with the same people as in the IFL, so I don’t miss much.

“IFL wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m a professional fighter and ultimately it’s an individual sport and you have to do what’s best for your career. IFL went down, but then I got another opportunity with UFC so I’m fine. I like the fact that I don’t have to fight every two months.”

Going from four-minute rounds to five-minute rounds won’t be a problem?

“No, because I’m training properly now. I’ll definitely be ready for the five-minute rounds. I think the biggest adjustment for IFL fighters, which isn’t that big of a deal, is we didn’t throw elbows on the ground – that’s the only thing. I train for whatever I’m going to do, so I’ll be fine. That’s probably the biggest difference between IFL and other organizations.

“Also, I do like the cage a lot. I think the cage is better and safer for fighters. They say it’s easier for people to watch the ring if they are accustomed to doing so, but the ring also gets in the way of the fight. If somebody’s going to take you down and you get all twisted up in the ropes… But you know the cage is always there. If you’re going backwards into the cage you know it’s going to be there, it doesn’t mess up your fight – you can keep going, so I do like it better in the cage.”

You and Reese Andy are both on the UFC 92 card. Are we likely to see Shad Lierley or any other former Tiger Sharks competing in the UFC?

“I know Shad has applied to go on the next TUF; we’ll see what happens there.”

When we last talked, you said you wanted to be recognized as being one of the best fighters in the world. Do you see your debut at UFC 92 as being another step towards achieving that recognition?

“I do. My goal in Fight Night 14 was to dominate and that is what happened. Of course, in my next fight with Ryo Chonan, I know he’s a top opponent, but I want to make it look like he shouldn’t even be in there with me. That’s my plan – I mean I respect him as a fighter, but… Things don’t always go to plan; however my plan is to overwhelm him. And people will think, ‘Hey, what is this? Was that luck? Did Brad just get lucky?’ I want to beat him so bad that people will just wonder if I got lucky or not.”

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