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With Titan, Pat Healy setting out to prove he's deserving of another run in the UFC

Pat Healy has the chance to be a champion Friday night, and he hopes that's the first step.

The former UFC and Strikeforce veteran will meet Kurt Kinser for the vacant Titan FC lightweight belt at Titan FC 33 in Mobile, Ala. He wants to dominate and finish Kinser, defend the title and then eventually earn another opportunity with the UFC.

"I think I deserve another chance," Healy said. "I feel like I'm better than a lot of guys still in the UFC, the majority of guys. I definitely feel like I can get back there and do some damage."

Healy (30-20, 1 NC) is still only 31 years old, though he has been competing in pro mixed martial arts for 14 years. The Oregon native was bounced out of the UFC last July after four straight losses to elite opposition. Since then, he has made alterations to his game and his geography.

Most of his career, Healy trained in the Pacific Northwest, mainly at Team Quest. After Matt Lindland moved on and the gym there dissipated, Healy bounced around and worked at places like Rose City. Now, he has left his home region and headed south. Healy has been training at vaunted Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., and also Donald Cerrone's BMF Ranch.

A typical day now for Healy is training at Jackson's in the morning and then two more sessions at Cerrone's sprawling, 7,000-square-foot ranch in the evening.

"I still want to get back to the UFC," Healy said. "That's my goal. That's kind of the reason I started going to Albuquerque, to change it up and get it to the next level. It's certainly my goal to get back into the UFC and have some success there."

The training partners are good and working out at elevation has been huge, Healy said. More than that, though, Healy has learned to get back to his bread and butter. Once one of the most suffocating grapplers in the division, he kind of got away from that after beating Jim Miller at UFC 159 in April 2013.

Healy and Miller each won $65,000 for Fight of the Night on that card. But Healy tested positive for marijuana afterward and forfeited his money and the victory. It's now officially a no contest.

"After winning bonuses and having them go away, I felt like I needed to go out there and get bonuses every fight," Healy said. "My game plans weren't as smart as they could have been."

Healy went on to fall to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Bobby Green, Jorge Masvidal and then Gleison Tibau. He bounced back with a split decision win over Bellator veteran Ricardo Tirloni in December in Buenos Aires, Argentina and then signed with Titan.

In front of him Friday figures to be someone Healy will be comfortable with. Kinser is a former Indiana University wrestler. He's an undefeated 8-0 prospect, but doesn't have anywhere near the experience Healy does.

"I don't mind ever fighting grapplers," Healy said. "It's always nice to face someone who is willing to get in those exchanges with you.

"He hasn't really fought anybody that has been at the higher levels. To prove that I'm worthy of that, I think I should go out there and finish him."

You could certainly say that Healy is embracing that grind again. Who knew it would be a noted striker like Cerrone that would help bring it back?

"I wasn't wrestling enough," Healy said. "That's one thing that kind of surprised me. I wouldn't think that 'Cowboy' would ever wrestle as much as he does, but he wrestles at least five days a week. He's been doing that a while. His wrestling is actually really tough.

"His game plan is to never get taken down and my game plan is to always take people down. Maybe I should do what he does and be more focused on my wrestling."

That, plus a little killer instinct, is what Healy hopes will earn him a ticket back to the UFC.

"I know that everybody likes finishes," he said. "Submissions or knockouts. I think that'll get me back on their radar.

"I don't think it's any les exciting. I don't plan on my fights being boring now. I can make a grinding fight fun to watch."

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