Former Strikeforce Lightweight contender Pat Healy was well on his way to making a splash in his UFC debut, submitting the tough Jim Miller via rear naked choke at UFC 159 last April. The effort would earn him both a Fight of the Night and a Submission of the Night bonus, netting a cool $130,000.
However, the time in the sun was short-lived, as Healy had his win changed to a No-Contest after he failed the drug test for marijuana. Healy was also suspended, and Bryan Caraway received the SOTN bonus money.
It was an embarrassing time for the gritty Healy, who now looks to put the blemish past him against the up-and-coming Khabib Nurmagomedov at next weekend’s UFC 165. Healy recently met up with Sherdog Radio to discuss his fall from grace, and how he plans to get back on track:
“It wasn’t a fun time. The day I found out, I think I just sat in my room with the lights off for the rest of the day, just kind of kicking myself. I made a huge mistake and I paid for it and I’m ready to get back in there and wipe that from people’s memory.”
He’ll have a good opportunity to erase his minor indiscretion from the memories of MMA fans against the undefeated Nurmagomedov, who has been seen throwing opponents around the cage with ease as of late. Healy knows that this is part of his strategy, and has been working diligently to combat Nurmagomedov’s varied throws:
“I’ve got to keep my center of gravity low if he does get to those spots. I’ve got to find a way to keep my hips lower than his so he can’t get that elevation. I’ve been trying to work on it a lot and I think I’ll be able to combat it fairly successfully and hopefully not get into those positions where he can take advantage of it. I won’t be as eager to enter the clinch as I normally do, but I don’t want to get too far away from what I do well and try to be a completely different fighter in there.”
Healy’s hard-nosed style will be unlike that of any other opponent Nurmagomedov has faced in the Octagon, where he sits at 4-0. It will be a stiff test for both fighters, and the winner deserves to get a strong boost in the rankings Healy may be the one with more to lose, but Nurmagomedov definitely has momentum on his side right now. Who is your pick to win this battle of talented Lightweights?