Through no fault of his own, Pat Healy fought only once as a 27-year old.
After beating Lyle Beerbohm in the main event of Strikeforce Challengers 14 in February, Healy has been on the shelf despite being ready to go, itching for a scrap so badly he said he'd fight his grandmother.
Fortunately for her, he didn't have to take it that far.
Healy returns to action Friday when he faces Eric Wisely in a main card bout of Strikeforce Challengers 18 in Las Vegas, but he wasn't expecting Wisely to be the one standing across the cage from him.
"When Jorge Gurgel announced he was fighting on this card, I thought that's who I was fighting," Healy said last week on Bloody Elbow Radio. "Then they announced Joe Duarte, which kind of boggled my mind, was going to be the main event, I just couldn't understand it. But I'm totally all right with this fight with Eric Wisely. He's had some good wins. I think maybe I have to reprove myself to the new management that's running Strikeforce, which I'm perfectly fine with. I just wanted to get back in there."
Healy isn't the only person to notice change in Strikeforce since the company was acquired by Zuffa. He said the old Strikeforce "seemed like (it) was always a little bit disorganized."
"Since the new guys, Sean Shelby and the rest of the crew from Zuffa has come in, it's almost completely different," Healy said. "We've had contact with them the whole time. I knew I was either going to fight on the July 30th card or Aug. 12 and they keep in contact with us. I think a lot of it was the disorganization of Strikeforce, but I think all that, hopefully, is taken care of."
It's been an interesting six months for Healy since he fought Beerbohm, mainly because he's had to sit on the sidelines and watch as Beerbohm got booked for two fights while he couldn't find one. Healy was supposed to be in Beerbohm's spot April 9 against Shinya Aoki but had that pulled from him. Then Beerbohm was booked against Gesias Cavalcante at "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson" but had to pull out due to injury.
"It frustrated me (to see Beerbohm getting other fights) to say the least," Healy said. "Especially because they told me I had the Aoki fight. I was preparing for that fight for over a week. A week and a half, I think. They told me I was fighting Aoki, so I was training for it, dieting and the night, I believe it was the night Dan Henderson fought Feijao, they called me up and were like, 'Yeah, we're gonna give the fight to Lyle.' They never gave me a reason. It boggled my mind."
Excited to be back in the cage, Healy isn't overlooking Wisely. He said Wisely, who holds wins over former UFC title challenger Hermes Franca and Matt Veach, is a well-rounded fighter who is a good striker and has a good guard.
"I think it's a good chance for me to show off some of my skills and build my name," Healy said.
"(The Beerbohm) fight was a great step in the right direction for me in putting my game together in what I need to do to be successful."
Having recently signed a new four-fight deal with Strikeforce, Healy is looking to step out of the background and get noticed. He started a Twitter campaign to get Strikeforce to notice him (with good results) and is working hard to market himself in an age where fighters can earn extra money by simply increasing their Twitter followers.
For Healy, though, it hasn't come easy.
"It's tough," he said. "Especially when you see guys who I've beaten like Dan Hardy. He gets a mohawk and talks a lot and next thing you see him fighting for the UFC belt. It's a shame this game is largely based on what you do and what you say outside the cage as much as it is inside the cage. I've always felt like I've always laid it on the line, always stepped up for every organization I've fought for. They needed something on short notice, I was always there to step up. I never complained about who I was fighting or how long of notice I had, but I just can't seem to get anybody behind me. I'm going to try to be a little bit more bold and say things that are on my mind and not be as reserved as I have been in the past."
To hear the entire interview with Healy, listen to the Aug. 2 edition of Bloody Elbow Radio.