UFC 159's Pat Healy: Fighting Jim Miller as good as a Strikeforce title fight


It’d be easy for Pat Healy to dwell on his recent back luck, including two promised title fight with then-Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez that never materialized. But he said his opportunity this weekend at UFC 159 is as good as anything he would have gotten in his former home.

Healy (29-16 MMA, 0-1 UFC) returns to the UFC for the first time in seven years when he and fellow lightweight Jim Miller (22-4 MMA, 11-3 UFC) kick off Saturday’s UFC 159 main card. It airs on pay-per-view from Prudential Center in Newark N.J., following prelims on FX and Facebook.

Healy, who’s resurrected his career with six straight wins and nine victories in his past 10 fights, was supposed to fight Melendez in November and then in January, but the champ pulled out of both bouts with injuries, and Strikeforce then closed shop.

Regardless of the setbacks, Healy sees nothing but positives.

“Fighting is all I wanted to do since I was like 15 years old, so I’m really living my dream,” he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “It’s hard to get down. There were some trying times last year with the frustration of those fights falling through, but I’m definitely well past all that, and getting Jim Miller on the main card on of a UFC event feels pretty much as good as a title fight in Strikeforce.”

For Healy, who heads into hostile territory to fight Miller in his home state, it’s also a chance to continue Strikeforce’s recent success in the UFC. Like the WEC imports a few years ago, Strikeforce fighters have excelled in the octagon with the likes of Daniel Cormier, Josh Thomson, Robbie Lawler and Jorge Masvidal posting impressive wins. Even Melendez looked sharp this past weekend in a title fight with Benson Henderson that he only narrowly lost.

“I think the guys who fought before me are kind of showing everybody we’re the real deal,” Healy said. “I think a lot of us are coming in with chips on our shoulders. We were feeling like the fans and media were treating us like second-class citizens for a long time.”

Healy also knows he’s getting the chance to fight an opponent on a big upswing. Miller, a perennial contender, most recently sliced and diced and scored a rousing unanimous-decision win over Joe Lauzon that earned 2012 “Fight of the Year” consideration.

“I expect him to come out guns a blazin’,” Healy said. “After a performance like that, it’s going to be in his head, and I know that’s one spot where he thinks he can take a great advantage – in the standup. So I expect him to come out hard and fast like he did in that fight, and I’m ready for it.”

And for Healy, he hopes it’s the first of many fights in the next year or two as he moves up the lightweight rankings.

“I want to take advantage of still being young, still having a fresh body, and really work to build my name in the UFC,” the 29-year-old said. “I think a lot of fans still don’t know there’s a sport called MMA. They think it’s just the UFC. I think getting established here is a big piece (of the puzzle).”

For more on UFC 159, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

  • 7 days ago
  • 11 views

The UFC’s lightweight world is pretty wide open for Tony Ferguson, who submitted Abel Trujillo at UFC 181 to improve his UFC record to 7-1. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 2 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., Nov. 22, 2014) with UFC Fight Night 57: "Edgar vs. Swanson" from inside Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Get compl read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

So close, yet so far. Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, now four-fights into his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career, is going to be sticking around for awhile, after pu read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 40 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight contender Leslie Smith may be the first mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, at least under the ZUFFA banner, to lose a bout by way of exploding ear. Th read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

UFC middleweight Luke Barnatt has spent the past four or five months of his life living on a 35-foot yacht in San Diego. The president of a longtime sponsor told him he could live there. Filed under: read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 9 views

MMA Fighting's E. Casey Leydon catches up with Kailin Curran before her UFC debut against Paige VanZant at UFC Fight Night 57 this Saturday night. Find out what drove Curran to fighting, what makes h read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 views

One down, several to go. UFC 184 headliner Vitor Belfort was hit with a surprise drug test earlier this month while training in South Florida, when the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) sent co read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 2 views

UFC middleweight title challenger Vitor Belfort passed a random drug test administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in advance of his February title fight against champ Chris Weidman.Filed read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

The dense plot surrounding the UFC featherweight title got some clarifying edits last Saturday at UFC 180. Prior to Ricardo Lamas’ quick-and-easy victory over Dennis Bermudez, you could make the case read news >>