UFC 159: 5 Fights for Pat Healy to Take Next
UFC lightweight Pat Healy made a triumphant return to the Octagon at Saturday night's UFC 159 with his impressive submission win over grappling ace Jim Miller.
The Strikeforce veteran became the latest import to finish a top-10 UFC lightweight by outgrinding his opponent before briefly choking Miller unconscious for the third-round stoppage.
This big win for Healy is proof that he can hang with the big boys in MMA's most talented weight class, making it inevitable that his next opponent inside the Octagon will be as tough as Miller.
Here are five fights that I think that "Bam Bam" Healy should take next.
One of the few Strikeforce imports to impress in his Octagon debut was lightweight Ryan Couture, who suffered a big TKO loss to Ross Pearson earlier this month.
The British 155-pounder has looked fantastic since moving back up from featherweight. He finished fellow TUF: The Smashes coach George Sotiropoulos via TKO as well in his return to the lightweight division.
Healy and Pearson are both tough-nosed, well-rounded fighters on the cusp of breaking into the upper echelon of the division. This fight would be a great scrap between two always entertaining lightweights.
One unlikely name that I think would make for a great matchup is Irish import and rising phenom Conor McGregor.
"Notorious" looked great in his debut against Marcus Brimage, showing an impressive skill set while at featherweight. McGregor did offer up his services to fight at lightweight when Joe Proctor injured himself leading up to UFC 159; however, the bout was scrapped when his opponent, Al Iaquinta, also suffered an injury.
While the UFC will likely look to keep McGregor at featherweight, a scrap at 155 against a grinder like Healy—maybe on the upcoming Boston card—would be an instant Fight of the Night candidate as well as a litmus test for the up-and-coming Irishman.
Winner of Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons
Another interesting potential matchup for Healy would be a scrap with the winner of the upcoming UFC 160 bout between top-10 lightweight Donald Cerrone and Strikeforce vet KJ Noons.
Surprisingly, Healy never faced Noons when they were in Strikeforce, while Cerrone is a dangerous 155-pounder who owns wins over some of the division's best fighters.
Regardless of the winner, Healy would be tested by either guy in what would make for an exciting scrap.
As the Strikeforce imports continue to prove their worth inside the Octagon, it's only a matter of time until the vets of the now-defunct promotion face each other once again.
One fight between Strikeforce vets that I'd love to see would be a battle between Healy and recent UFC on Fox 7 winner Jorge Masvidal.
After taking a close unanimous decision in his UFC debut, Masvidal will have to take out a top lightweight if he wants to shine in this crowded division, which makes a vet like Healy a perfect opponent for him. Masvidal would be a solid challenge for Healy as well.
And considering both fighters' hard-nosed, grinding styles, I would expect a war if they ever met.
The one fight that I'm sure Healy is itching for is a rematch with fellow import Josh Thomson.
These two lightweights squared off three years ago inside the Strikeforce cage. Thomson emerged the winner when he caught Healy with a rear-naked choke in the third round.
Considering that both fighters are coming off big finishes over top-10 lightweights, it would be interesting to see which Strikeforce vet would be victorious in this potential rematch.