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Exclusive: UFC 108 Curse a Blessing for John Gunderson

(Gunderson looks for a guillotine against Wagnney Fabiano in an IFL bout back in 2007.)

There is one upside to having an event so plagued with injuries and illnesses that it barely limps its way onto pay-per-view.  With so many holes opening up in the fight card, that means some UFC first-timers are bound to turn someone else’s misfortune into their own big break.  One such Octagon newcomer at UFC 108 will be IFL vet John Gunderson.  He’ll be taking on Rafaello Oliveira, who was supposed to fight Sean Sherk, who got moved up to face Jim Miller when Tyson Griffin pulled out.  That’s the kind of event this has been, and that’s the convoluted chain of events that led to Gunderson getting his shot in the UFC just a little over two weeks from now.

"I actually found out last night," said Gunderson.  "[Evan] Dunham saw it online and he told me about it.  After practice I checked my cell phone and sure enough there were a bunch of texts from my manager about it."

"We had been talking about it for a while, trying to get me on a card in March or April.  But we told Joe Silva, if anybody gets hurt, I’m ready.  I’ve been training with Evan Dunham.  I’m in shape.  I had a fight lined up for January 30, so I’m ready to go. …I knew it would happen eventually.  With as many fights as the UFC is doing, I knew there’d be an opening sooner or later."

Gunderson is coming off a busy 2009 that saw him fight six times, winning all but one of them.  The frantic pace was all part of a calculated effort to get the UFC’s attention, Gunderson said, while also ensuring that he’d be ready if and when they did call.

"It was all to get in the UFC.  I just knew that somebody would get hurt, something would open up.  With that many fights, and with the nature of this sport, I knew it would happen.  Guys get hurt training all the time.  It happens."

Starting today, Gunderson is preparing for "Tractor" Oliveira, who he watched in a losing effort against Nik Lentz at UFC 103, but who he also remembers as a tough guy who came to the UFC highly touted by other notable fighters (note: Oliveira did beat Wigman Big Big — twice). 

As for whether the Octagon jitters will get to him, Gunderson says his experience and wealth of high-level training partners will help him make a smooth transition to the UFC.

"I’ve had so many fights, and I train with so many good guys right now.  I’m at Xtreme Couture and TapouT, going back and forth.  I don’t think it’s going to happen.  You know, there’s showing up, and then there’s showing up and performing.  I’m not just going there to show up."

Cagepotato Comments

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Bootylam- December 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm
So there's the real shit. I revoke all kudos 831 dad, and also hereby declare you a "biter". So what if it's an early 90's term, it applies. Sorry 831 Son. Us old skoolers need to stick together. Nobody bites off us!
831 Son- December 16, 2009 at 12:14 pm
831 Father get your name changed loser. Only homo trolls would copy someones name and change it to sound worse.
Bootylam- December 16, 2009 at 12:02 pm
831 FATHER? WTF?!? Did you grow up or just have a kid? Either way, congrats.
831 Father- December 16, 2009 at 7:36 am
Wow, you're so cool, TheRealKadumel. You have insider news and felt the need to post off-topic and be cool, hoping for credit. God, you're as incredible as the "first post" people.
TheRealKadumel- December 16, 2009 at 5:20 am
Thiago Silva out of 108???

Clinch-Smash- December 16, 2009 at 4:28 am
^^^I second that,

LMAO @ Skeletor, Literally crying
whitey- December 15, 2009 at 11:15 pm
@ carolined

you should be banned.
mthomas- December 15, 2009 at 10:17 pm
The real question is where does UFC 108 now fall on the 'Most Cursed MMA Events of All Time' list?
Miles- December 15, 2009 at 9:38 pm
Is it just me or is the main page super fucked up in Firefox?

Take a look, Bens
TylerDyrden- December 15, 2009 at 9:08 pm
where the hell did the TIGER WOODS comments come from?

and yeah this card is more stale than 3 week old wheat bread
Harry Russo- December 15, 2009 at 8:33 pm
What, no video of Dan Quinn getting tko'd this weekend? You fuckers are slacking.
MyFightWiffaCheeto- December 15, 2009 at 8:25 pm
Zimmer defeats Martinez Rd 2 Peruvian Necktie.
skeletor- December 15, 2009 at 7:15 pm
Who cares ^^^^^ The guy is half black and all black men love white woman. If every black man in our country had tiger's money they would all have 15 white girlfriends. Luckily for us tiger is only half black so he doesn't have any illegitimate children. That we know of. Dun dun dun
carolined- December 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm
First came Gatorade, then came Gillette, now cell phone network operator AT&T are 'evaluating' their relationship with Tiger. Three weeks ago Tiger was king of the brands, now he comes with a bad taste. All the sports websites at are asking will Woods lose his contract with AT&T?

FreddyFangers- December 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm
I love the linkage to all of your not updated WikiCage pages......very useful.
Frank Mur- December 15, 2009 at 6:07 pm
SO WHAT!! this card sucks so bad. Who the fuck wants to pay for a PPV Event thats headlined by some douche who started as a backup for the guy that was almost on the under card vs my highschool math substitute teachers aide. I would rather watch Spike play tenth time reruns of Chuck Liddell getting "Night Elf Mohawked" by Sugar again. I don't even believe they're still putting on this event.
peanutbuttter- December 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm
Evan Dunham's wiki needs to be updated.
skeletor- December 15, 2009 at 5:27 pm
smart move Robo
Robocop Didnt Tap- December 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm
@ skeletor

Oh shit...THE Nildo Pai Veio!?! I'd like the throw myself on the mercy of the court for my prior pick of Gunderson. I'll take Tractor via full pull in the 3rd round.
skeletor- December 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm
Gunderson is fucked! Along with his wins against Wigman Big Big Tractor also took 3 out of 4 from Nildo Pai Veio. Just sayin' if you guys new anything about Nildo Pai Veio you would be impressed, seriously impressed.
Robocop Didnt Tap- December 15, 2009 at 4:51 pm
I'm taking Gunderson. Rules of the universe prohibit me from picking someone who lost to a guy nicknamed "The Carnie".
Dmonicideals- December 15, 2009 at 4:47 pm
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.