Pat Healy is as experienced of fighter there is in MMA today.

Healy, who sports a career record of 28-16, will face Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez next Saturday night at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy.

For “Bam Bam,” getting off to a fast start against Melendez will be key, despite the contest being scheduled for five rounds.

“I am not a very quick starter,” said Healy, during a recent conference call. “I have had a tough time in the first round in like my last 50 fights. But I’ve worked hard in training camp (to get myself) off to a good start. I’ve worked on it, especially for this fight.”

Melendez has become one of the top fighters in the world at 155 pounds, and has shown plenty of resolve when pushed to the limit.

“Gil pushes a good pace, but I am pretty big,” Healy said. “If I can get my weight on him early, that will make a big difference in the later rounds.”

Healy owns six knockout and 15 submission wins to his credit, including back-to-back submission victories over Caros Fodor and Maximo Blanco in Strikeforce recently. He is 8-1 in his last nine fights, with the lone loss coming to Josh Thomson.

It was brought up that Healy trained with Thomson for this fight, but Healy made sure to set the record straight on that issue.

“I didn’t really bring in (Thomson),” Healy said. “I was out training (in Hawaii) with BJ (Penn) and he was out there, too. BJ’s gym is like my second home, and I will always be training with those guys. Josh just happened to be one of them.”