by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy Sportfight)
After taking time off to recuperate from injury earlier this year, multiple lightweight titlist John “Quick Guns” Gunderson is kicking things into high gear for the last quarter of 2006, starting with a defense of his Desert Brawl 155-pound championship this Saturday in Bend, Oregon.
Shortly thereafter, Gunderson will be heading to California to fight at the next World Extreme Cagefighting event on October 12th. Then early next year, he’s headed to the newly formed World Fighter Championships, having recently agreed to a contract with the company.
But before all of that, John has to attend to the business at hand in Desert Brawl this weekend against a late replacement fighter.
“Firstly I was supposed to fight a guy out of Texas [York Ash], but for some reason things didn’t work out, so I’m going to fight a guy out of Seattle named Brian Caraway,” said Guns of his title defense. “He’s supposed to be pretty tough. I’ve seen him fight and he’s got good wrestling and good jiu-jitsu, but I don’t think he’s at my level yet. I’m planning on finishing him… it’s a five-round fight and I plan on finishing him in three.”
Desert Brawl has the distinction of being the first Oregon-based MMA promotion, paving the way for the highly successful Sportfight and the recent debut of the IFL. As John puts it, it’s a promotion he’s proud to be a champion for.
“It’s a good show,” simply put Gunderson. “They pay me well and it’s actually where I had my very first fight so I love to go there to fight. It means a lot for me to go there, that’s where I’m from. They get two-three thousand people there and that’s big for Oregon. It’s a packed house for Oregon.”
After Desert Brawl, John doesn’t have much time to rest, as he has to turn right around and compete again just a couple weeks later at the next WEC event.
“I’m really excited about fighting in the WEC in October because I’ve wanted to fight there for a while now,” exclaimed Guns. “For some reason with my work schedule things never worked out, but right now I’m able and ready to go there to fight. I’m going to fight a kid named Billy Evangelista who’s from Pacific Martial Arts.”
John continued, “He’s got some skills, he hasn’t had that many fights, but he’s one of those guys that’s definitely dangerous. He’s a well-rounded fighter, but not having all that many fights. He doesn’t have the ring experience I do. That’s in my favor and I’m going to take him, but I’m expecting a hard, tough fight.”
If these fights weren’t enough for Gunderson to be excited about, he is slated to be part of the highly anticipated World Fighter Championships, a new promotion with the likes of Cesar Gracie behind the scenes and Frank Shamrock as a contract fighter.
“In January I’m in the 16-man tournament,” announced John. “I don’t know the whole thing, they just sent me out my contract. I have to look at it tonight, but from what I understand, it’s 16 fighters and the winner gets a million or a couple million dollars. It kind of sounds too good to be true. It’s kind of amazing, but to be part of that if it does happen is going to be awesome. It’ll be like a dream come true to be part of that.”
“So I’m extremely excited about that. Something like that, I could take a couple months off work and strictly train. I’ve never been able to do that. So I think if I was able to do that, not that many people could stop me,” added Gunderson.
First off though, John has business at hand this weekend in Bend and as he explains, it’s going to be business as usual for him in the ring.
“I’m going to retain the belt and do it in stunning fashion,” said a confident Guns. “Brian is a tough kid, but I think I’m going to crush him, knock him out. He’s a good wrestler with good jiu-jitsu, but he’s going to have a hard time taking me down and the whole time he’s trying to take me down, he’s going to be eating punches.”
John further commented, “I’m looking to knock him out. I hate submitting somebody, every time I do it, I feel like I’m letting the crowd down. So I’m really looking for the knock out. I don’t look to submit a guy; I look to beat on him.”
Gunderson concluded the conversation by reminding fans that if they can’t make it to Desert Brawl in person, they can watch it over the net and by giving thanks to the people that have helped him out in his career.
“You can check out my fight on MMA PPV [www.mmappv.com],” concluded John. “I’d like to thank Phat Cat Tattoo and Vicious Fight Gear… Matt Buffman… the New World Fighters, JT Taylor and Marcus Lewis. All those guys have helped me out a lot so I’d like to say thanks to those guys. I think that in 2007 I’m going to break out and hopefully get into a big show and show what I’ve got.”