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

'UFC 187 Embedded,' No. 3: Easy fishing, McGregor arrives, acupuncture, buckwheat

  • 5 days ago
  • 4 views

It’s a new fight week, which marks the return of “UFC 187 Embedded” and a preview of Saturday’s pay-per-view event. In the third episode, the fighters arrive in Vegas – but not before Donald Cerrone read news >>

'Ronaldo' Souza undergoes knee surgery; wants title shot or Luke Rockhold next

  • 5 days ago
  • 4 views

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is healing up after knee surgery. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion recently underwent the procedure to repair damage done to his left meniscus in his quick win over read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio (noon ET): UFC-PRIDE-Strikeforce-ONE Championship-Bellator vet Phil Baroni

  • 12 days ago
  • 0 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off at noon ET with in-studio co-host Phil Baroni, who will co-host the show in the studio at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.Filed under: Bellator, MMAjunkie Radio, News read news >>

Ronda Rousey Video: ‘Easy Lives Make Boring People, and Things Have Not Been Easy’

  • 13 days ago
  • 7 views

Ronda Rousey's road to "overnight success" was paved with rough cobblestones, but that's okay, “Easy lives make boring people.” read news >>

Khabib Nurmagomedov wants Pettis and Diaz on same night: ‘These guys are easy money for me’

  • 13 days ago
  • 2 views

UFC Lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov has no problem fighting “easy money” Anthony Pettis and Nathan Diaz on the same night. read news >>

UFC champ Rafael dos Anjos responds to Conor McGregor, Bobby Green

  • 14 days ago
  • 224 views

UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos can rest easy knowing there’s now a target on his back – and a lot of people are going to take shots.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

On Mother's Day, Ronda Rousey reflects on the discipline that helped her become UFC champ

  • 15 days ago
  • 1 views

Ronda Rousey never had it easy as growing up, but she wouldn't have wanted it any other way. In mixed martial arts (MMA), fight fans can sometimes forget the backstory that leads to the 15 or 25 minu read news >>

Stipe Miocic on Mark Hunt: 'If he thinks it's going to be easy for him, let him think that'

  • 18 days ago
  • 2 views

Stipe Miocic believes that Mark Hunt is in for a surprise if he thinks their UFC Fight Night 65 headliner is an easy win.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC and Strikeforce Veteran Benji Radach Returns at Bellator 137

  • 18 days ago
  • 0 views

After nearly five years on the inactive list, MMA veteran Benji Radach is returning to the cage. read news >>