Although it’s far from his first fight with the promotion, this evening will be “Bad” Brad Blackburn‘s coming out party in the UFC, as the heavy handed Washington based Knockout artist is all set to slug it out with Amir Sadollah during UFC Fight Night 20, airing on Spike TV.
“Bad” Brad may not be the first name that pops into your head when considering future threats the the crown at 170 pounds, but an unblemished record of 3-0 since his arrival in the UFC back in July of 2008 is one statistic that refuses to be ignored.
Somehow managing to fly under the radar for the most part while quietly putting together a perfect Octagon record over the last year and a half, tonight will be the first UFC event that Blackburn has been scheduled to take part in the main portion of the card, and he intends to make the most of it with a decisive victory over the former Ultimate Fighter champion.
FiveOuncesofPain.com had the chance to catch up with Brad just prior to his showdown with Sadollah to gather his thoughts on a variety of subjects including tonight’s match-up, welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, and much more.
Cory Brady for FiveOuncesofPain.com: I know you started out training in boxing, but what caused you to transition your focus from the sweet science to mixed martial arts initially?
Brad Blackburn: Well Dennis Hallman, Jef Monson and a few of the other guys started training at the same gym I was doing my boxing at, so I figured, “‘Let me see what these guys are doing over here’. So I went and trained with them for one day and I had never realized that it was possible to be that dominant over another human being. I was like, ‘Wow! Why am I spending all my time boxing when if one of these guys were to get ahold of me they could do whatever they wanted? I’m in the wrong sport!’. So I started training with them, and I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll have one fight’. Then it was, ”I’ll have one more’, and now here I am today. This wasn’t by plan.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: What are your general thoughts on Sadollah as a fighter and what he brings to the table?
Brad Blackburn: Amir’s a good striker. He puts his punches and kicks together well. He’s very durable, composed and relaxed in the cage for having as few fights as he has up to this point. He’s definitely someone you have to keep on your toes with. He’s very capable of catching you with something, just like he did with C.B. Dollaway. I don’t think he’s been in there with any top level guys yet, so this will be his first time. He might be game, but we’re going to find out.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: What were your thoughts on his previous bout with Baroni as a whole?
Brad Blackburn: His conditioning is good and his offense is good, but that Phil Baroni fight is nothing like my fight’s going to be like. I’m going to be punching, kicking and kneeing back the whole time. It’s hard for me to go off of that fight because Baroni got really tired and he was pretty much a punching bag. Amir was basically throwing combos on a punching bag.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Does it matter to you one way or another as far as how you want to win this bout?
Brad Blackburn: I’m going to end up with the win one way or another, whether it’s a submission or knockout. You know which way I’d love to win right now for some reason? A body shot… or a head kick. But really, I don’t care. As long as I win. Because I regardless of anything, after I win this fight, I’m 4-0 in the UFC. People can have their opinions, but I’m 4-0, regardless of how they feel.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: With that being said, you’re currently on a three fight win streak in the UFC, a four fight run overall and you haven’t suffered a loss in your last six, assuming that you come out of this fight with a victory, how many more fights do you feel like you would need before you started considering a run at the title?
Brad Blackburn: I don’t care! I’ve been fighting for eleven years now. That’s what [Ken] Pavia says that he likes about me; if they call and say fight, I’m like, ‘Okay, where? When?’. What am I going to wait for? I’m thirty-two years old and I’ve been fighting for over ten years. What am I going to wait one more fight? What difference is that going to make? I have experience, I’m well rounded, I give it 100%, and I’m here to fight. I’m not here to train, or talk about it, or say what I’m going to do. I want to get in there and live up to the challenge. It’s all about the challenge, no matter who I fight. I’m up for the challenge. No matter what it might be, or who it is, or whether it’s for the title or not. Because you might have three wars on your way to the title, and then when you fight for the belt, you might knock the guy bout in a minute. You just never know. Sure, I’d like the title, but as long as I’m fighting top guys in the UFC and getting paid for it, I’m happy. Titles come and go, I’m not going to dwell on it. If I keep winning, I’m going to get my shot. They can only deny me for so long. I just have to do my thing, and my job is to win fights, whether it’s for the title or not.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: So basically, it doesn’t matter one way or another to you whether your facing Amir Sadollah or Georges St. Pierre tonight?
Brad Blackburn: It’s a fight. Georges St. Pierre isn’t guaranteed anything, and neither am I. He’s not guaranteed to not get knocked out. He’s not guaranteed anything, and nobody is. That’s what’s so exciting about the sport. So I’m up to the challenge. Whatever challenge they give me, I’m down. Give me the paper, I’ll sign it (laughs). Let me know. Just tell me when.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: How does it feel to finally be on the main card of a major UFC?
Brad Blackburn: It feels good, because I’m 3-0 in the UFC, and a lot of people don’t even know I fight in the UFC right now! So I’m really excited about this one. What I really want to get out of this fight is the opportunity for a lot of the fans that haven’t seen me fight yet, to see me do what I do.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Yeah, you’re 3-0 in the UFC, but this almost feels like a coming out party for “Bad” Brad in the UFC tonight on Spike.
Brad Blackburn: (Laughs) That’s exactly what it feels like?
FiveOuncesofPain.com: If there was one area of your arsenal you feel like you need to work on the most, what is it, and why?
Brad Blackburn: My Jiu-Jitsu offense. With how good my wrestling is, I should be able to finish people on the ground every now and then. That’s the area I need to focus on the most after this fight.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Now that you’ve established yourself as a top welterweight in the sport with three consecutive wins in the UFC, what would you credit some of those losses you suffered in the early and mid portions of your career to in retrospect?
Brad Blackburn: Well, I didn’t train properly before. I just trained when I could because I was working two jobs. People were like, “Hey, you want to fight in two weeks?”, and I was like, ‘Okay’ (laughs). I didn’t take it serious. Then I made it to the IFL and taking things halfway serious and training more frequently, and I started doing better. But I always told myself that if I ever make it to the UFC, I’m giving it 100%. I’m okay with failure if I know I gave it 100%. Once I made it to the UFC, I’ve refused to work a normal job. 100% of my energy right now goes to doing what it takes to win my fights. That’s what I think made the difference. I’ve always had the ability, but I had no gas in the tank. I think the biggest thing was cardio. Every fight that I won was in the first round, and every fight that I lost was in the later rounds. All of my losses except for one was from conditioning in my opinion. The better shape I get in, the more confident I get. I wasn’t putting my hours in, so as far as I see it, I didn’t deserve to win.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Alright Brad, thanks a lot man. I’m really looking forward to this fight, much like I look forward to all of your fights. I’d have to say I’ve been a fan since you basically knocked out Delson Heleno on one knee during your IFL days.
Brad Blackburn: (Laughs) That was a big fight for me! That was probably the biggest fight for me, because like I was saying: It’s always been conditioning with me, and this time I knocked somebody out in the third round, after losing the first two. So that was really big for me. That fight let me know that I’m starting to do things right now.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Thanks Brad, is there anyone you would like to thank?
Brad Blackburn: I’d like to thank all of my training partners, family and friends for their support. I’d also like to thank TapouT and BSN for their support.