Though it might not have been pretty, Pat “Bam Bam” Healy’s win over former Sengoku champion Mizuto Hirota proved that after years of uncertainty, he’s ready to step up against the best fighters in the world.
“I don’t think it was my best performance, but Hirota is a super-tough guy, he’s battle-tested over in Japan and has always done well against guys who have my style. So it was a tough fight, but I think I did enough to win,” said Healy.
“I kind of had my way in wrestling in my last four or five fights. I guess I got a little complacent in my training and thought I was going to dominate in wrestling. I came in not in peak wrestling condition against an opponent who has such good takedown defense and was able to work off the bottom really well too.”
Ultimately Healy feels it was his groundwork that proved to give him the edge in the judges’ eyes.
“I think the striking was pretty even, so I was able to edge him out with my takedowns and the little bit of ground control I had,” he told MMAWeekly.com.
Having won five fights in a row and six of seven fights in Strikeforce, Healy feels he’s earned a shot at current lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.
“I think I’m putting together a lot of momentum and my game is real solid right now,” said Healy. “I think I’ll be a tough fight for anybody. I think I’ve earned a title shot – more so than anybody in Strikeforce – so I’d really like to see me getting a shot at Gil.
“I’m definitely not saying its Gil or nothing. If (Strikeforce feels) like I need to do another fight, that’s what I’ll do. I’m a fighter and I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me, but I feel like I’ve done enough. If they don’t, I’ll fight whoever I have to.”
With fewer Strikeforce shows this year, Healy knows there’s a chance he might not see action again until 2013, but he’s hoping to return to the cage before the year’s out, while working with a UFC vet in the interim.
“I think I’ll definitely be back this year,” he said. “I’d be really disappointed if I wasn’t.
“I came off the fight injury-free and I’m going to turn around and go help BJ Penn prepare (for his fight at UFC 152). I’ll be right back in the thick of things training with BJ and will be ready whenever they need me.”