The last four months of lightweight Pat Healy’s career have been quite the adventure. After securing the status of No. 1 contender and a shot at Gilbert Melendez’s Strikeforce title, Healy has now been out of action since July. The pair’s fight on Sept. 29 was scrapped—along with the entire event—following a shoulder injury suffered by Melendez.

“What a disaster. It was more frustrating than anything I’ve been through in my career,” the 44-fight veteran told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “It wasn’t just my fight being canceled, but the whole card. It’s something that is really sad for everybody involved.

“It was the beginning of the end for Strikeforce.”

Healy (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

It wasn’t just the September fight that has left Healy frustrated. His clash with Melendez was rescheduled for the promotion’s final event on Jan. 12 in Oklahoma City, but the champion’s injury again left Healy high and dry. Now, instead of competing in the main event for a title, the Portland-based fighter finds himself welcoming the undefeated Kurt Holobaugh to the promotion.

“This has been the most trying time of my career,” admitted the seven-time Strikeforce combatant. “I pretty much have nothing to gain in this fight. Everybody expects me to win, and if I don’t do it in dominant fashion, it will be a hit against me.”

With nothing to gain, many might ask why Healy even bothered to take the fight. But without a guarantee that he’ll be moved to the UFC when Strikeforce closes its doors, it wasn’t an option.

“I wasn’t really given a choice,” he explained. “I’ve never turned down fights, and it wasn’t like I was presented multiple opponents or anything like that.

“They haven’t given me any indication of what’s going to happen to me in the future, so as far as I know, I’m fighting for my job. That alone is enough motivation for me to take this fight very seriously.”

Surprisingly, Healy’s fight with Holobaugh won’t even be on the event’s main card. While other fighters might have taken it personally, Healy just hopes that it will earn him more respect from his employers.

“I’m not insulted by it, but I’m certainly disappointed to be on the prelims,” he said. “I’ve always been a company guy and done everything they’ve asked. I took this fight when a lot of others found their way out of this event. I don’t know what more I could do for them. Hopefully they’ll take that into consideration in the next step of my career.”

Having spent the last three years with Strikeforce, Healy is both disappointed and relieved to see the promotion cease operations. But after the events of the last few months, it’s clear that he’s ready for the next chapter of his career to begin.

“It’s disappointing because I had earned a title shot and Strikeforce created a great life for me,” he said. “Before this, I had a job, and trying to work and train while fighting at this level is pretty much impossible.

“But I think everybody in Strikeforce is just ready to move on. It’s been hard to get fights and stay active. Many of my peers have had the same complaints. It will be nice if I get into the UFC to have the chance to fight more often.”

Healy (R) delivers a right hand (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

One thing that does point toward Zuffa bringing Healy over from Strikeforce to the UFC isn’t his five-fight winning streak, but the fact that the promotion has signed so many fighters he’s defeated over the past year and a half.

“They’ve signed the last four guys I’ve beaten, and three of them are directly coming off losses to me,” Healy pointed out. “I feel like I’ve earned a big fight, and I want a big fight. I want to be on a main card and show everyone what I can do.

“I’m not going to expect with the way things have gone, I just hope everything works out.
I’m trying to stay focused on Kurt Holobaugh. I want to go in there, beat him up and move on.”

Unfortunately, Healy’s lack of assurance that he’ll be moved to the world’s largest promotion has left him with an unsettled feeling about his future. His hope is to turn that energy into a big win come Saturday night.

“I feel a bit of pressure. I’ve tried and tried to get some sort of a guarantee that no matter what happens with this fight that I’ll move to the UFC, but I haven’t gotten that,” revealed the man known as ‘Bam Bam.’

“I can’t let it be a close fight. I have to go in there and win in decisive fashion or my future is in real jeopardy.”

Pat would like to thank MMA Elite, VFG Group and Bill Provy. Follow him on Twitter: @BamBamHealy

Top Photo: Pat Healy (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)