Even with 40-plus fights to his credit, Strikeforce lightweight Pat “Bam Bam” Healy understood that he needed to make alterations to his routine if he wanted to stay at the top level of MMA.
“I think I’ve made the proper changes in my training to be successful,” he said to MMAWeekly.com. “I was always going hard, but I really slowed things down, took a look at my technique, made a great connection with BJ Penn, and branched out a little bit, which has really helped my game.
“There’s still some things I saw in my (Josh) Thomson fight where I was just a little bit too loose and open for letting him work his submissions, so I’ve worked pretty hard on that. Team Quest is still my main gym, but I’ve been going to Nemesis BJJ and have been working with Eric Hemphill who really fits my style well. We’ve made a great relationship and I feel it will really benefit me in the cage.”
Healy has also worked on his conditioning, which has allowed him to make the transition from welterweight to lightweight easier.
“Troy from Last Round Nutrition did my diet this time and I’ve never had my weight this low and been able to eat this much,” said Healy. “I’m not going to have to cut much water weight, which is completely different for me; usually I’m cutting a lot of weight to get to 155. Now I feel stronger than ever and have been eating a lot better.”
Don’t think, however, that just because Healy’s expanded his game that he’s transformed into being a fineness fighter from his normal hard-nosed, scrappy approach.
“That’s part of me that will never change,” he said.
Healy will get the opportunity to further test out the changes he’s made Friday night in Las Vegas as part of Strikeforce Challengers 18 at The Palms against newcomer Eric Wisely.
“He’s a pretty well-rounded guy who looks like he likes to stand up more, but I think I see some holes in his ground,” said Healy. “He really doesn’t like to be in the clinch, so I think I’ll be able to get my arms around him.
“He’s like the rest of the 155-pounders on this card, he’s really undersized, and I think I’m a lot bigger and that will make a lot of difference as well. I really want to finish him. I want to use my grinding style to set stuff up. He’s never been finished in 22 fights, so I want to be the first one to do that.”
Even though he’s the most experienced fighter on the Strikeforce Challengers 18 card, Healy feels he needs to prove himself to the new ownership and management of Strikeforce, Zuffa LLC, who he says have improved his experience with the company.
“It’s huge,” he said. “Just them coming in you see how much better run the organization is now. With the new guys, they’re right on top of everything and you constantly get feedback from them and they really work to put their best foot forward. I appreciate that quite a bit.”
Healy admits he not only needs this fight Friday night, but also has to remain busy throughout the rest of 2011 in order to sustain his career.
“The previous owners of Strikeforce really put me in a hole,” he said. “I fought one time when I was 27 years old and it really hurt me financially. I’m in a hole and I need this fight to get me even, so I’d like to get back to it and get in another fight right away.”
With the changes he’s made, Healy feels he’s ready to begin a new chapter in his career, starting with his bout against Wisely.
“Everybody follow me on Twitter @BamBamHealy and watch Friday night, I think you’re going to see the best Pat Healy you’ve ever seen,” he concluded. “If you can, get to Las Vegas come down to The Palms and check it out or watch it on Showtime at 11 p.m. (Eastern) across the nation.”