Pat Healy was happy to be back in the UFC.
In fact, the 29-year-old lightweight struggled to keep from smiling while he waited on Jim Miller to make his entrance ahead of their April 27 matchup at UFC 159.
In a recent interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Healy discussed his journey back to the Octagon, his submission win over Miller and more.
On the long road back to the UFC after the promotion cut him in August 2006: “It’s been quite an adventure. I’ve had some great experiences because of it, some not so great, but it’s certainly been a good ride.”
On whether he considered quitting MMA: “I never really considered getting out of it. My love of fighting has always kept me in it, but I certainly felt like, ‘Man, am I ever going to be financially successful? Is this ever something I’m going to be able to do full time?’ It started with Strikeforce, but now with UFC, it’s a lot more of a stable financial future, at least for the next few years hopefully.”
On whether fighters coming over from Strikeforce have a chip on their shoulders: “Oh, definitely. I think when we were fighting in Strikeforce, it would build. You’d have a good win and nobody would talk about it or they’d discredit it. … Now that we have the opportunity, every guy I know from Strikeforce has definitely got a chip on their shoulder and came in there fighting like, ‘Hey, man, we’ve got to show them what’s up.”
On being a UFC fighter now and coming off a win: “At times I never thought I’d ever hear that, but now that I’m finally here and especially to come in on a good solid win like that against a tough opponent on a main card of a UFC, it’s almost like a dream come true.”
On the adjustments he made after losing the opening round to Miller: “He rocked me right at the end of the first round. I went to the stool and I was kind of dazed. There wasn’t much going through my head at that point, but I knew I had to push the pace with him. What I was doing on the feet wasn’t enough. I had to kick it up to the next gear, stay on him more with the takedowns and the clinch, and when I did get him down, I couldn’t stop working because if I gave him a second, he was either going to change the position on me or get back up.”
On whether he was nervous: “To be honest, I was just really excited. You come out that tunnel and you see all those people. A lot of them might not have been cheering for me, but just to hear them cheer, especially when Miller came out and it just exploded, I was excited. To me that was like, ‘Man, I’m here. This is it. This is what you’ve been working so hard for.’ I was trying to keep the smile off my face when I was standing in the ring.”
On what the win does for him: “I definitely think I’m a top-10 lightweight. It was a big introduction to the UFC fans, but I still think I’ve got more work to do to prove that I deserve a shot at Benson [Henderson]. I certainly welcome that top competition and I want to stay fighting guys who are in that conversation.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:34:39).