by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy IFL.tv)

While he may not have the best record in mixed martial arts, nor be the most polished fighter on a card, there’s one thing that you can never take away from Pat Healy of the IFL’s Reno Lions – he’s one tough, hard working fighter that will bring it every time he steps into the ring.

It’s his willingness to take on any and all comers that has made him a favorite among hardcore fans, but conversely it’s also lead to many labeling him as a journeyman fighter.

So when the IFL came to Reno, Nevada last year for open tryouts for MMA legend Ken Shamrock’s new Lions squad, Healy jumped at the opportunity to gain much needed stability to his young, but venerable career.

At the Lion’s first team battle this past January in Oakland, Calif., Pat’s hard working attitude helped him in his unanimous decision victory over always-tough MMA veteran Ray Steinbeiss of the San Jose Razorclaws.

Things did not however go his way in the Lion’s last match-up with the defending league champion Quad Cities Silverbacks and their welterweight, Rory Markham. Healy gassed late in the fight and was put down for the count by Markham.

So, it was back to the drawing board for both Pat and the Lions, as they prepared for their final regular season scuffle with the winless Tucson Scorpions, this coming Saturday, June 16th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“There’s always a little pressure for every fight,” said Healy of this coming Saturday’s showdown. “We have a real slim chance to make it to the playoffs, and I don’t think I have a chance to make the [individual] Grand Prix, so it’s not like a real pressure fight. It’s just like, do my thing, go out there and win it.”

Pat continued, “I’m feeling really good. I learned a lot from the Rory fight. I should have been able to keep up with that pace. So, I really focused on throwing a lot of punches and being a little rougher in practice and just doing the things that I needed to do.”

Healy looks to make that hard work pay off, when he and the rest of the Lions head to Las Vegas on Saturday to take on the Scorpions, and for Pat in particular, 6-1-1 Mike Guymon.

“I don’t know too much about Mike Guymon,” admitted Pat. “I know he’s a well-rounded fighter, but I know what could work to my advantage is making it a war. Because, I’ve been in a lot of wars, and he’s fought Diego [Sanchez], but other than that, he’s fought nobody.”

“He’s kind of chose his fights real smartly, and I don’t really like that. I don’t think padding your record is cool. I’ve done the exact opposite. So I’m going to really go out there, push him, and make him get into a tough, scrappy fight,” furthered Healy.

As Pat alluded to, he’s never been one to back down from a challenge from anyone, be it a young up and comer or a hardened MMA veteran, Healy’s fought them all.

“I think that’s something that’s just in my personality,” explained Pat. “I’ll never really back down from a fight. I kind of regret taking some of the fights I did earlier, when I wasn’t training how I should be.”

Healy added, “I’d like to have a lot of them back, now that I’ve had the proper training. I feel like I can be in there with anybody right now.”

When it comes to the Lions in 2007, Pat is happy with the squad around him. And he feels that like himself, the team will continue to improve under the coaching staff they have in place and become better when the next IFL season rolls around.

“I think we’ve got one of the best coaching staffs in the IFL,” exclaimed Healy, “with the addition of Terry Greg, who is world class on the ground and an amazing teacher. I just think that they’ve made me grow so far, that I can tell that I’m a completely different fighter. I’m so much more of a well-rounded fighter.”

“Roman Pollock has taken my stand-up to a different level, and I really think I’m going to show it in my next fight, show all the hard work that they’ve put into us,” further stated Pat.

But first things first, Healy and the Lions must take care of business this Saturday at the Hilton in Las Vegas against Mike Guymon and the rest of the Scorpions.

“I want to definitely thank Fairtex; they’ve been taking good care of me,” concluded Healy. “I’ve got a lot of good friends coming to my fight in Vegas from all over America, so I’m excited to see all of them. I think it will be a great show in Vegas and I hope there will be a great turnout.”