UFC on Fox 9 got another high-octane lightweight bout Sunday, when UFC officials announced that veterans Pat Healy and Jamie Varner will do battle at the event.
According to a report from Sherdog.com, Healy and Varner—both enjoying late-career surges but each coming off a loss—will fight at the event, scheduled for Dec. 14 in Sacramento, Calif., and headlined by a lightweight title fight between champion Anthony Pettis and challenger Josh Thomson.
Known as much for his toughness as his takedowns, Healy (31-16-1) returned to the UFC in April, just before his 30th birthday and after a seven-year absence from the Octagon. Healy moved to the UFC after parent company Zuffa purchased and eventually folded the Strikeforce promotion, in which Healy had amassed a six-fight win streak.
Healy won his UFC return match over Jim Miller, notching Submission of the Night and Fight of the Night bonus honors in the process. But Healy's positive marijuana test after the fact turned the win to a No Contest, vaporized his bonus checks and netted him a 90-day suspension.
Healy returned to the cage in September, but dropped a decision to undefeated super prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 165.
After a four-fight winless streak precipitated his release from the WEC promotion in 2010, Varner—who certainly burned a few bridges earlier in his pro career—appeared permanently relegated to the MMA hinterlands. But fortune smiled in May 2012, when Varner (21-8-1-2) got an unlikely call from the UFC to replace an injured Evan Dunham on short notice at UFC 146.
Varner made the most of the opportunity, scoring a major upset by knocking out Edson Barboza. The win earned Varner a longer-term stay in the promotion. Now 28 years old, he has gone 2-2 since his return, most recently dropping a split decision to Gleison Tibau.