01-01-2010 01:57 PM: John Gunderson gets to make his first trip into the Octagon tomorrow night. It's been a long way in the making for the veteran fighter. For 99.9-percent of the fighters in the UFC, there is no road like the one Brock Lesnar took. Everyone else fights on small circuit, many times in front of hundreds and too often they're paid just hundreds. Gunderson knows the feeling. He fought in a decent-sized promotion, the International Fight League in 2007. But when that went under, Gunderson decided to hit the road and go for broke. He fought in Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada and twice in California. After a win next to the pool at The M Resort, Spa, Casino in Las Vegas, he asked himself why he was doing this. "I personally train people here in Las Vegas. I make decent money," said Gunderson, whose biggest payday this year in fighting was $12,000. "What am I doing fighting? I have two children. I'm busy with soccer with them all the time." Gunderson told a close friend that it was time to make a final push: "I need to reach my goal or this is going to be it. I can't continue to fight for nothing." Gunderson got hooked up with fight manager Matt Stansell, who gave him two options, UFC or Bellator. Stansell thought Gunderson, who is 22-6, was better suited for UFC. He told him to be patient. Gunderson was leary saying he heard the same thing before UFC 58 in 2006. When Sean Sherk dropped off UFC 108, Gunderson got his lucky break. He'll face Rafaello Oliviera. Gunderson, trained by Shawn Thomkins, has 20 stoppages amongst his 22 wins. Fifteen of those are by submission. More... Yahoo! Sports. Cagewriter is an MMA blog edited by Steve Cofield.