Bad’ Brad Blackburn (13-9-1) will return to the Octagon on June 20th at ”The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale’, against heavy handed UFC newcomer, Edgar Garcia (7-0).

Blackburn is riding a four fight win streak, including a TKO over Jay Hieron, with his last victory coming by way of a unanimous decision victory over Ryo Chonan, one of the few fighters to defeat current UFC Middleweight champion, Anderson Silva.

Garcia, the undefeated knockout artist, is coming off of an impressive KO victory over Hiromitsu Miura at WEC 38 in January. PRO MMA’s ( Jeff Howard recently caught up with Bad Brad to discuss his upcoming fight, among other things.

PRO MMA: Brad, your next fight is in June, at the Ultimate Finale, Correct?
BLACKBURN: Correct. June 20th against Edgar Garcia for the Ultimate Finale.

PRO MMA: Your opponent, Edgar Garcia, what do you know about him?
BLACKBURN: I know he is 7-0, five wins have been by knockout, one by submission and one by decision. So, he’s a really tough opponent, hard hitter with a wrestling base. He hasn’t fought anybody that’s really tough, but on the other hand, he’s smashed everybody, so I’m expecting a tough fight. This guy just hasn’t had any opportunities, so this could be his first opportunity. I’m looking for him to come in there real hungry and try and take advantage of his first opportunity of fighting in the UFC, fighting against someone who is already established there.

PRO MMA: How are you preparing for your next opponent? He looks to have heavy hands, are you working mainly stand-up?
BLACKBURN: I’m working on everything. I go with pro boxers every day. Getting hit is nothing foreign to me. I have confidence in my defense. I have really good defense and I think that’s what might make the difference in this fight. I don’t know how he’s training or who he trains with, but one thing I don’t have is a shortage of pro boxers here. I know Im going to be ready for this fight.

PRO MMA: You’re 13-9-1, what can Garcia do that you haven’t already seen?
BLACKBURN: Exactly. Ive never been outclassed in any of my fights. If you watch my fights, every single loss was due to conditioning. Like my last fight, everybody was like, Ryo Chonan this, Ryo Chonan that. Sure he busted me up a bit in the last round, because he came prepared. But when I had my stuff together in the first two rounds, he couldn’t do anything about anything. I pulled two good rounds out of myself in that fight, now I’m prepared to pull three.

PRO MMA: With that said, do you feel like you need an impressive victory over Garcia to get a boost to the next level in the UFC?
BLACKBURN: A victory is a victory, I don’t care how it happens. You know, everything will happen, if you win. That’s how I see it. With my fighting style, I am an exciting fighter, so boring fights never ever happen with me. That’s not an issue with me, the only issue is winning.

PRO MMA: Well, your last fight, you beat Ryo Chonan, who has beaten such guys as Anderson Silva, Carlos Newton, Akiyama, Sakurai and Joey Villasenor. Chonan is fighting on an upcoming pay-per-view, after you beat him, and the UFC still has you fighting on The Ultimate Finale and Fight Nights.
BLACKBURN: They [the UFC] have tried to give me bigger fights. They tried to set me up against Mike Swick in a fight night main event, but I was injured and medically suspended after the Chonan fight. So its not like they weren’t trying to give me high profile fights, there was talk of me against Mike Swick, me against Marcus Davis, but I was still suspended due to the injury. They tried, but I was still suspended, and with them taking the WEC 170 pounders, they have way too many welterweights now and were booked all the way through July. So, I just got my suspension lifted and said I want to fight, I don’t want to wait. So they put me on as soon as they could. It’s not like they weren’t trying, I was just medically suspended.

PRO MMA: What is your fighting background. What style do you come from and where do you currently train?
BLACKBURN: I come from a boxing background, I was a boxer. The gym that I fight out of is Victory Athletics, I also train at West Coast Fitness, Team Quest, and I’m about to start shooting over to AMC once a week. I bounce all over the place. I like to get different looks, it keeps me on my toes. You know, everybody’s different, so I don’t like to train with the same people all the time. I’ve been going down to Quest every Thursday, but haven’t the last couple of weeks because I’ve been working with Dennis Hallman, getting him ready for his fight, which he won last night by rear naked choke.

PRO MMA: What is you current contract status with the UFC right now?
BLACKBURN: I signed a four fight deal with them. This being my third fight. If I win this one, we will definitely be renegotiating.

PRO MMA: What are your plans for the future. Are you looking past this fight at all?
BLACKBURN: Just to win my next fight. I feel like if I keep winning it will all happen, everything will fall in place. I feel like I’ve missed opportunities due to my medical suspension, but with the UFC taking up the WEC, beggars cant be choosers and this is the fight I’ve got.

PRO MMA: Have you always fought at 170?
BLACKBURN: I’m a 170 guy. I’m too big to go down to 155 so I’m 170. I’ve fought at 185 a couple of times, but I’m a 170 guy. If the money was according, I would fight at 185 again, but only if the money was right, I’m a welterweight. I walk around at 185, sometimes 190.

PRO MMA: Whats been your toughest fight to date?
BLACKBURN: That’s hard to say. It comes down to me. I’ve had tough fights that came down to me. I mean, I’ve had tough fights just because I couldn’t fight any more and I don’t quit, so I stayed in there the whole time. I’ve had so many fights that were tough, but they weren’t my tougher opponents. I’d rather fight the guys I’ve lost to than the guys I’ve beat, even though they were my tougher opponents, I was just ready that day. I’ve fought when all I could go was one round, but still fought three, it was a nightmare, several times.

PRO MMA: So your biggest enemy has been conditioning?
BLACKBURN: It has been. The only loss I’ve had that wasn’t due to conditioning was Rory Markham. So in my head, I’ve only lost once. I was completely dominating that fight, if you watch it. And, that one was an early stoppage. He hit me when I was stepping, and I got knocked down and was as alert as possible yet the ref stopped it. I was in a defensive position, as alert as possible and the ref still stopped it. He wasn’t looking at me, he just jumped in and stopped the fight. I was asking the ref what he was doing when he stopped it. The doctor after the fight didn’t suspend me. When you’re knocked out, you are supposed to get medically suspended, but they didn’t suspend me because I wasn’t knocked out.

PRO MMA: Does losing affect you mentally at all?
BLACKBURN: No. It’s just a fight, just business. Like I said, I feel like I’ve only lost once. If you go back and look at my fight record, all of the fights that ended in the first round, I won. All that went past the first, I lost. It was a matter of conditioning. I feel like if I’m prepared and can go three rounds, I’m comfortable in there with anybody they put against me, anybody. I don’t take losses personally. I don’t know why people do that.

PRO MMA: Any sponsor plugs or shout outs?
BLACKBURN: I would like to thank CageFreak and Tapout, those are my main sponsors right now.

PRO MMA: I have to ask, who is your biggest fan?
BLACKBURN: (laughs) I wonder who told you to ask me that..let’s see..I would have to say my biggest fan is my cousin Courtney.

PRO MMA would like to thank Brad Blackburn for taking the time to talk with us. We would also like to thank Blackburn’s cousin, Courtney, for setting up the interview for us.

By: Jeff Howard

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