Coming off back to back wins, MMA veteran Pat “Bam Bam” Healy returns to action this Saturday at Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov. Stepping onto the card in place of the injured Josh Thomson, Healy will open the night’s main card on Showtime against the Venezuelan Maximo Blanco.
A week before his biggest fight thus far in his career, the 28-year-old Healy talked with MMAValor for a very in-depth one on one interview that will take you through his displeasure with the “old” Strikeforce thru why he thinks the athletic commission might spell trouble for Blanco. Healy is candid and honest with his answers and his interview is one any MMA fan will not want to miss.
You’ve been vocal on twitter about Strikeforce; especially between you’re fights with Lyle Beerbohm and Eric Wisely. Can you talk about that?
It was really with the old Strikeforce regiment, I was really having a hard time with them. Rich Chou was supposedly the matchmaker but we talked to him all the time and he was like man I don’t know. They never knew anything they never could tell you hey you’ll look at being on this card. They could never give you a time frame and you never knew who was in charge. It was so frustrating, I had fought one time when as was 27. Finally when ZUFFA took over it has been completely different, we’ve had constant contact with them and I knew from the get go that I’d either fight in July or August and it just feels like a completely different organization. Yeah, I did voice my dislike of the old regiment, but it was really because of the not knowing. For the Beerbohm fight I hadn’t fought for 8 months and then they told me 3 weeks before that I’d be fighting at the end of the month.
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Do you think that you get the respect you have earned in MMA?
You I think that from other fighters and ZUFFA has treated me with a lot of respect and the hardcore fans. The mainstream casual fans I don’t think I get the respect from, they look at my record and they don’t know what’s behind it. I think a win over Maximo will start to change that though.
Before your fight with Eric Wisely there was a lot of talks about you’re change in training. What changes did you make and why?
I worked a lot on my technique. I was always that guy who would always come in and say “let’s spare” and “let’s just go hard.” Not really working on technique but maybe just grapple, I thought that was the key. When I went our and trained with BJ Penn and Martin Kampmann when we were going hard I did great but when we slowed it down to hit mitts or just grappling, I saw a lot of deficiencies in my game. I saw the stuff I was lacking because of not putting in the time of the technical work and not really focusing on the technique. You can only work so much in during sparing when someone id trying to knock you’re block off.
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How did you feel during the fight with Wisely?
A little bit, wisely was a tough opponent. I haven’t had an opponent in a long time where people were like you’re going to kick his butt. That puts a little bit of a different amount of pressure on you, when you’re expected to dominate the fight or finish the guy it’s a different feel. I’m used to being the underdog so much that win or lose if I had a great performance that would get my name well-known just as a win. It was a different feel and I think it showed in my performance. I didn’t take many chances and I played a pretty conservative game so that stifled maybe a little bit of what I was working on. Wisely is a tough opponent, he is a scrappy dude and made it really tough for me.
When Josh Thomson got injured you quickly took to twitter and began lobbying on twitter to replace him. Why did you want the fight with Blanco?
I just had this gut instinct that someone was going to pull out of that fight. I was really keeping an eye on the fight so I got right back into the gym, cause I didn’t want to have any regrets if I did get offered the fight. I just had a gut feeling.
Do you think you got offered the fight because of twitter?
There were a lot of things going on in the background. Twitter helped a lot but to a certain extent, to let them know you want the fight and fans want it too. My agent (Matt Lindland) was calling them though prior to me being on twitter. I knew that not a lot of people would want to step up and take the fight with Blanco, I knew if I lobbied with Strikeforce and not a lot of guys stepped up that I’d be in the front running.
Stepping up on short notice usually goes a long way with ZUFFA, don’t you think?
I certainly hope so. I’m trying to be like Donald Cerrone, he’s had like 6 fights in like 13 months or something like that. You got to make sure you have a good performance though, you can’t just step up and flopping over for the guy isn’t going to get you anywhere. When you step up and fight like Cerrone you are bound to get another call, especially on short notice. I still feel like I need to gain popularity with the regular fans, so stepping up and getting on a big show like that is really my best opportunity to get on the main card of a monster show like this.
What do you know of Maximo Blanco?
I’ve seen him fight a few times. Once they signed him I always keep my eyes on the 155 pounders so I really did some research on him. He’s a really explosive guy that likes to lay back and then explode and he has finished a lot of guys that way. I really think that’s a good style match up for my as I don’t really give you those moments to lay back and catch your breath. If he fights in the flurry style and has flurry consistently for a whole round, by the second round he’ll be gassed out, there is no way he can keep a pace like that.
Blanco has battled injuries of late and he last fought nine months ago but he has also never fought outside of Japan. What do you think will be a bigger factor, Ring Rust or fighting in the cage?
I think they will both be a big factor. I’ve never fought in Japan but I’d imagine the first time would be tough, especially coming off a long layoff.
In a recent interview you talked about Blanco having to deal with an athletic commission for the first time possibly being an issue. What did you mean?
I do not know for sure but if you look at all those guys that came over from Japan and fought in the state for the first time, they tended to gas out and their performances were lackluster and they ended up dropping down in weight. I think it’s a very serious thing to look at and if they are going to have to deal with an athletic commission and they’ve been used to training and doing stuff that isn’t exactly legal coming up it will certainly affect their performance.
In stepping in against Blanco you find yourself on the main card of a big Strikeforce event. Would you call this the biggest or maybe your most important fight of your career thus far?
Yea defiantly, there is going to be a lot of eyes on this event. I’m really looking forward to showing what I can do and really putting on a great performance in winning the fight.
How is your brother (Ryan) doing & when does he fight again?
He just got married so that slowed him down, wife didn’t want him fighting before or right after the wedding. That put a hiccup in things but I think he is slated to fight in October, if he doesn’t get on the Cagesport card on October 1st in Washington then I’d say he’d get on the Sportfight card on October 22nd. He’s looking to get a couple of wins and get into Strikeforce with me or I still have a good connection with rich Chou so I wouldn’t mind getting him in with ProElite. He’s like 7-2 in his last nine fights and has also made the adjustments in his training that I had I think we needed to and his game has gotten considerably better for it.
Anyone you’d like to thank?
I want to thanks Throwdown, Last round Nutrition and Troy Sudar who does my nutrition work, Eric Hemphill at Nemises Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for really helping me on my ground game and all my guys at Team Quest.
Make sure to follow Pat Healy on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/BamBamHealy/
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