by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
One fighter who has made the most of his UFC opportunity over the last year is former IFL welterweight “Bad” Brad Blackburn.

Since making his debut for the UFC this past December, he has won all three of his fights for the promotion, turning in gritty, solid performances against James Giboo, Ryo Chonan, and Edgar Garcia.

It is his success that makes the recent news that he will be out for the remainder of the year that much more disappointing.

As Blackburn confirmed to MMAWeekly.com, “The doctors said when they went in to fix my AC (acromioclavicular) joint that I had a nice long tear in my labrum (shoulder).

“They had to fix both of those and my estimated time for recovery is nine months.”

Early in Blackburn’s fight with Edgar Garcia at the Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale in June, Garcia slammed him, causing the injury, and turning Blackburn into a one-armed fighter the remainder of the bout.

Since the fight, concern had risen in regards to the extent of the injury when it became apparent that Blackburn could not reach across his body with his injured shoulder, prompting doctors to want to check his labrum in addition to his AC joint.

While the news is upsetting, Blackburn remains in good spirits and plans to use his positive state of mind to motivate him towards a faster recovery.

“My personal goal is (to be fully recovered in) six months,” stated Blackburn. “If I go by what the doctors say then I wouldn’t be able to fight for a year, and there’s no way that’s happening.

“I’m going to do everything I can do to get better. If all I can do is kick, then I’ll kick a bag every day. If I can ride a bike or jog, I’ll do that. When I can drill submissions, I’ll be drilling submissions. I’m going to do as much as I can with the situation I’m in.”

Further motivating Blackburn towards a sooner than anticipated return is his desire to keep up with the constantly evolving fight scene.

“Everybody’s getting better all the time, so if I’m not improving, I’m falling behind,” he commented. “If I’m not doing something, it will mess with my head, making me think everyone’s getting better and I’m not.”

His agent, Ken Pavia, has spoken to the UFC about the extent of Blackburn’s injury, and all signs point to the promotion wanting him to return to the company as soon as he is healthy.

With that said, Blackburn is focused on proving the doctors wrong by getting back into the Octagon sooner than anticipated.

“I want to thank all the fans for their support and giving me positive feedback on my MySpace and Facebook,” he said. “I’ll definitely be back, and there’s no way it’s going to take me nine months.”