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It was another perfect afternoon at the Sports Lab Gym in Portland, perfect for training.

You know for me, said UFC Fighter Pat Healy, This is the greatest job you could have in the world. You know, I get to wake up every day, do what I love, I get to choose my own hours, but the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. You ve got to be really self driven to be in this sport.

Thirty-year-old Pat Healy was born and raised in Salem and now lives in Eagle Creek. He took up the sport as a teenager.

I have a twin brother, he explained. We were into it when we were about 14 or 15 years old. We were just lucky to find something we loved early and lucky enough to do it for a living now.

And they do it on the big stage, or more appropriately the big cage. Healy, whose nickname is Bam Bam will take on undefeated Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov on the main event card of UFC 165 in Toronto, Canada.

Healy is a top contender in the 155-pound class and sports a 31-15 record. I love the UFC man, there s no crowd like it. he said. You go there and it s like 18,000 people and everybody s screaming. There s no experience like it.

Healy wrestled in college at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He turned pro a dozen years ago and the sport of mixed martial arts has grown by leaps and bounds during that time.

You see it mostly in UFC, Healy said. They get mainstream sponsorships and people don t look at you crazy anymore when you tell them you re a mixed martial artist, or they always call you a cage fighter. Not as many crazy looks, let s just say that.

Healy has won six straight fights. UFC 165 takes place Saturday and will be available via pay-per-view.

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