Ford feels he can pick up

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

The last time they met, it was supposed to be little more than a sparring session for Ryan Ford.

And for two rounds it basically was.

But Pat Healy - a last minute replacement in the Maximum Fighting Championship welterweight title fight - did the unexpected. He caught Ford in an armbar and forced the local fighter to submit, taking his championship belt in the process.

"I learned a lot from that first fight," said Ford. "I think a lot had to do with my inexperience towards the jujitsu game. I was leaving my limbs out there for him to grab on to. But I've done a lot of good training going into this fight. I don't see him being able to beat me in any aspect of the sport this time around."

The loss was Ford's first and only as a professional fighter.

Tomorrow night Ford will get an opportunity to regain his welterweight title in the rematch as the main event at the MFC Destined for Greatness fight card at The Venue at the River Cree Resort and Casino.

"Losing that fight hurt at that moment because I had worked hard for that fight," Ford said.

"I felt that I was dominating that fight and didn't think that I was going to lose.

"But I was able to suck it back up and was back in the gym the next day and started working on the things I had to work on and here I am again today."

The loss hit the MFC as hard as it did Ford.

Heading into the bout with a perfect 6-0 record, the former football player was the circuit's rising star. The welterweight title belt was essentially designed for him.

"I think that loss helped me," Ford said. "If I were to just keep winning and winning and continued to be undefeated I would think that I was unstoppable. But if you look at every champion in the world right now, everybody has got a loss. I gained a lot from that loss.

"It showed me what I had to work on and other skills in my game. I've been working on those and so I don't see myself losing to any armbars any time soon."

With a pair of victories since losing the title, Ford has been able to exorcise some of the demons that came with relinquishing the belt. He considers himself a more complete fighter now and has regained the confidence that made him such an up-and-coming star.

"It's just a matter of keep gaining experience," Ford said. "I'm still relatively new to the sport and I'm learning something new every day.

"Those were two good fights which have allowed me to bounce back really well and right now I've never trained better."

Ford has had little choice but to train hard for the rematch.

This time around he'll be facing an opponent who's had equally as much time to prepare for the bout. The last time around Healy, of Portland, was parachuted in when Ford's original opponent was unable to take part in the event.

Despite being an experienced fighter, the short notice had few in attendance thinking Healy had any chance of pulling off the upset.

"That last fight was on short notice," said Healy's training partner Ed

Herman. "But I think the main difference now is that back then, Pat was kind of a nomad, training at different camps.

"Just a couple of weeks before that fight he joined up with Team Quest and he's been training solid with us since then. He's really improved with our coaching and training with a number of talented fighters. I think that will make a big difference in this fight."

Healy was not available at yesterday's press conference but will be in town for this evening weigh-in.

He's expected to be in better shape this time around.

"His last fight he came in under weight," Herman said. "This time he's big and strong and healthy. I'm excited I think we're going to surprise everybody again.

"I know he's excited because he's the underdog still. Everyone says that he was lucky the last time out, but who was the one that tapped out? That's what it's all about, fighters that can take a great beating and pull it off in the end."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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