Pat Healy has a lot more on the line than the average fighter on the UFC 165 card. The former Strikeforce title challenger could see his UFC career go up like a puff of smoke. In fact, that’s where the trouble stems from.

Healy transitioned over like many of the Strikeforce veterans once the promotion closed its doors. He was supposed to challenge Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez on two separate occasions, but both times Melendez pulled out with an injury which created a number of conspiracy theories across MMA message boards.

Healy entered the UFC for a second time with very little fanfare considering he was a No. 1 contender in the world’s second promotion. Part of that was likely due to the fact that Healy was never involved in high-profile fights during his time with Strikeforce. He did headline a card opposite Lyle Beerbohm in a battle of rising contenders, but Healy had also lost against the best fighter he faced in the promotion, Josh Thomson.

The veteran Healy has faced a number of notable fighters and holds victories over a few of them, but it’s hard for any fan to consider Healy anything more than a “middle of the road” type of fighter. That is, until his performance at UFC 159. Facing Jim Miller, who had just come off one of the best fights in recent memory against Joe Lauzon, Healy wasn’t given much of a chance by most. Not only did Healy find his hand raised in victory at the end of their contest, but he won “Fight of the Night” and “Submission of the Night” honors for his effort.

One of the main problems of reaching the ultimate mountain top in professional sports is that someone is always gunning to knock you off. But instead of another opponent taking Healy down, it would be the fighter himself. Healy tested positive for marijuana and the result of his fight with Miller was immediately overturned to a no-contest. His “of the Night” honors also were stripped and handed to Bryan Caraway in a much publicized move.

To his part, Healy owned up to the mistake almost immediately and didn’t make any excuses.

“I was fully aware of the UFC and State Commission’s drug policies and made poor life choices. I stand behind the UFC and the State Commission’s disciplinary actions. I support efforts to make MMA and sports a clean, safe and fair place to compete.” (via MMA Weekly)

Everyone has different feelings about marijuana and whether or not to classify it as a PED. Personally, I don’t believe it helps a fighter create a competitive edge over an opponent in the cage. Healy still beat Miller and is 1-0 in my mind since rejoining the UFC’s ranks. The problem is that the official record says a no-contest for his fight with Miller. Therefore, a loss to former Combat Sambo World champion and undefeated fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov could officially end Healy’s time in the UFC.

The UFC has had no issues in the past cutting fighters after only one loss, or even parting ways with guys who are still widely regarded as being in the top of their division. The promotion certainly does not tolerate issues like failed drug tests or missing weight. A terrible performance against Nurmagomedov could be the last straw for Healy, due to the fallout from UFC 159. The pressure to perform has to mix with Healy’s desire to get back into the cage, which should lead to some great action. Nearly everyone who has the competitive drive within them wants to step back out on stage after making a mistake and fix it. For Healy, that stage is UFC 165 and he hopes to do what no man has yet to do, defeat the surging Nurmagomedov.

Photo: Pat Healy (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

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.