Pat Healy isn’t a name on many MMA fans’ radars. Ask your average fan and you’re likely to be met with a blank stare, despite the fact Healy was set to challenge for the Strikeforce lightweight title.

Of course, those plans fell apart after Gilbert Melendez injured himself on two separate occasions, and now Healy will have to wait and see if the UFC brings him into its fold. The promotion undoubtedly should, as Healy has been consistently one of the better fighters at 155 pounds over the past few years.

He’s only lost once since dropping to lightweight in 2010 and that was to perennial No. 1 contender Josh Thomson. After the loss to Thomson, Healy won five straight bouts, including handing Lyle Beerbohm his first professional loss.

What may hold Healy back is the fact that many of his recent victories have come via decision. We all know how much UFC President Dana White loves a guy who goes for the finish. Healy has proved he can finish tough fighters like Caros Fodor and Maximo Blanco, but will need to do more than that in order to ensure he faces top-level competition.

If you’re looking to justify Healy’s status as the No. 1 contender in Strikeforce, look no further than the guy’s record. Moving beyond his five-fight winning streak, just check out some of the names Healy has defeated. Guys like former UFC interim champion Carlos Condit, heavy-handed UFC veteran Paul Daley and former UFC title contender Dan Hardy all fell before Healy at 170 pounds.

His career at welterweight has been a mixed bag of sorts, and despite wins over high-profile talent at 170, Healy hasn’t had the opportunity to face too many high-caliber lightweights. The fight against Thomson is Healy’s only fight over a notable opponent. It’d be nice to see him have the opportunity to face another high-quality fighter once he moves to the UFC.

The division is in a state of flux with Benson Henderson emerging as the top dog with Nate Diaz possibly assuming that role come December. Both Frankie Edgar and Clay Guida have migrated to featherweight, which leaves Gray Maynard as the only consensus top-10 lightweight without anything on his plate.

Is Healy ready for a guy the caliber of Maynard?

I’m not sold on that idea and would much rather see him face the winner of Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller. Both guys are UFC veterans who have a rock-solid game that would prove a great barometer of where Healy ranks among the UFC elite. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Healy take on the surging Rafael dos Anjos, who has seen his popularity skyrocket after UFC 154.

Regardless of the opponent, it’s clear the UFC needs some top guys to replace the ones leaving. Healy could fill the void if given the opportunity. The fights mentioned above are just a few suggestions, but I anticipate the UFC taking it slowly with the vet, seeing him face off against a lower-ranked opponent before pushing him into the upper level of fighters.

The UFC does have some big shoes to fill, but also has a laundry list of guys willing and able to step up. Will Healy get his chance to prove his worth in the UFC’s lightweight division? I’m not sure, but the one thing I am sure of is that he deserves the chance.

Photo: Pat Healy (R) battles Caros Fodor (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.

  • unbeknownst

    I really like the idea of Healy facing the winner of Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller, if he gets past Jorge Masvidal that is. With a win over Masvidal I’d have him on the cusp of the top 10 LW list.

    Winner of Jamie Varner vs. Melvin Guillard would be a good potential match up too.