Prior to his debut in the International Fight League, lightweight John "Quick Guns" Gunderson was on a tear. Having remained undefeated for two years with multiple titles to his credit, Gunderson was one of the most highly regarded incoming talents to the promotion.

Upon winning his debut fight for the company in January of 2007, a string of injuries derailed him from achieving the level of success he had envisioned for the company.

A loss to Ryan Schultz in February marked the first time in Gunderson's career that he'd suffer back-to-back losses, and, worse yet, a torn anterior cruciate ligament would sideline him for the remainder of this year, until now.

Finally healthy, he is eager to return to action and will do so in the coming months, as he disclosed upon the start of making the comeback he hopes will land him yet another 155-pound title.

"I just started training this week," he said. "The weekend after (the Ryan Schultz fight) I got it repaired and it's finally starting to feel better. I did everything I was supposed to do after surgery and hopefully it was enough. We'll find out in a few months."

This past year has been the longest layoff of his career; and as he explains it, it hasn't always gone smoothly.

"It's had its ups and downs for sure," he stated. "I've kind of felt better one day, and the next day it's killing me. It's just one of those things you've got to get over -- the more you push it, the better it gets, as long as you don't push too hard."

Gunderson will find out soon enough if his rehab efforts and his return to fulltime training will pay off, as he's signed to make his return prior to year's end.

"I've got a fight on Nov. 21 in Palace Fighting (Championships)," he announced. "Then hopefully at the very end of December I'm going to try to get a rematch with a guy I lost to about five years ago, Donny Raines. I'm looking forward to that fight. It's one of those where I lost to a guy I didn't think I should have lost to, so I get a chance to clear my record and my mind."

Having the time off has allowed Gunderson to get himself in a situation where he can look at fighting in a different light; and by extension, make his return a successful one.

"I'm going to fight now because I want to fight and I love to fight -- not because I have to for money," he exclaimed. "I feel like all it's going to take is to watch me fight one or two times for people to take notice. I feel like I'm an exciting fighter; I bring it and big organizations who pay for exciting fighters. I plan on being right there, having a good year, and getting back on the ladder headed up there."

Healthy again and back in the gym, Gunderson looks to go the route of fellow former IFL fighter Benji Radach and make the kind of return that could earn him "Comeback Fighter of the Year" status in the minds of promotions and fans alike.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.