One on One with Boston’s UFC Bad Boy: John Doomsday Howard
You may have seen UFC fighter John Howard demolish Uriah Hall at Fight Night 26 but what you may not know is that he’s a Boston native. I got to catch up with the 10 year MMA vet and find out who the real John Howard is, what it’s like to be back in the UFC and his take on female fighters.
Shanda: Today I have the pleasure of sitting here with one of Boston’s own – UFC’s John “Doomsday” Howard. John, how are you?
JH: I’m doing great! My life is really interesting right now.
Shanda: You beat Uriah Hall at FN 26 after being under a lot of scrutiny about Hall being better then you. How did you feel after?
JH: I’m feeling good after the fight last week at the TD Garden, I’m feeling great. I shocked the world and I beat this guy (Uriah Hall). I knew all along that he was good but not too much better than me. Maybe the same level at best. Not a future world champion yet. He has a lot more work to do. He gave me a good fight. It WAS a good fight. I feel that I represented Boston well and it was the biggest moment for me to win here in Boston at the Garden and to have all of my fans there. It was awesome I loved it.
Shanda: Now just to clarify for the people who may not know and didn’t catch the fight…you went up a weight class for this particular fight. How difficult was that for you?
JH: It was a little bit difficult for me. When I left the UFC, I’d been fighting 185 for a couple of years and I felt good, I felt strong. I wasn’t a big 185 but I was a solid 185. I’m not the biggest but I held my weight well. When I walk in the cage when I fight I’m like 200 lbs so I’m not a like a small guy in the weight class. It felt good being at my natural weight and being able to fight at that and I felt strong and good. We’re gonna see what happens I’m not sure if I’m going to stay at this weight. Not only did I prove to the world that I would be back in the UFC but I went up a weight class and I still beat him which says a lot. So, now I’m at a point where I can fight at both 170 and 185 hopefully the UFC utilizes.
Shanda: A lot of people didn’t think you would win this fight? What do you have to say to critics who doubted your fighting skills over Uriah Hall?
JH: Umm, I think he’s good. I think because of the media that he is overrated. I didn’t think I was better than him or that he was better than me. He’s a really good striker but I think that the level of the playing field was even. That night I was just a better fighter.
Shanda: Ok. Let’s go back just a little. Now you were out of the UFC for a short time. How does it feel to back?
JH: Awesome! It’s unbelievable I can’t believe I’m back. Thank God! Thank you UFC, thank you Dana White and all the UFC staff. I was just happy to be on the Boston card, it’s a dream come true. I’m just so excited.
Shanda: The City is too, it was great to actually have a Boston fighter representing the city in this major fight here at the Garden. So, you had a little time off. What did you use the time for? Did you use it to reflect or just take a break from fighting?
JH: I went back to my basics. What happened was, I was a wild fighter and I didn’t have great technique and I should have. So, I went back to work on technique and I still have the power but now I have more skill. I’m a lot stronger now and have better focus. So, the time off just made me re-focus and get back to basics and that’s what I did and from there I got a call from the UFC to come back.
Shanda: Cool! How did your return to the UFC materialize?
JH: What happened was, there was an opponent that Uriah Hall had and he got injured and because of that he was pulled out of the fight and I was pulled in. It was awesome! They gave me a call and asked if I was ready to fight and I said “Yeah, let’s do it”! So I took the opportunity and jumped on it and now I’m back!
Shanda: Since you’ve been out of the UFC, there have been a few changes. It’s become more popular for women to fight in the UFC. How do you personally feel about women fighting in the UFC?
JH: It’s awesome! I believe in equal rights and I’m proud to see women fight. In my opinion, women make better fights. They take pain better than men. They perform unbelievably. Every female fight I’ve seen has been great. So, it’s awesome. You’re gonna see a lot of women performing high caliber fighting within the UFC. It’s gonna be amazing.
Shanda: Who’s your favorite female fighter right now?
JH: I’m gonna say Rhonda Rousey. Rhonda’s awesome.
Shanda: Yes, she is! That would be great to get a women’s fight here in Boston.
JH: That would be amazing!
Shanda: Speaking of Boston, it was an honor to have the UFC fight here in the city…How did you feel about being able to fight in your own city?
JH: Awesome. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I’ve been to the Garden a few times to see the Celtics, the Bruins play. What ppl don’t understand is that most of these athletes are not from Boston but I’m from Boston, born and raised. I got to perform at the TD Garden. I still call it the Boston Garden because that’s what it was when I was growing up. It is an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to say you’re from Boston and getting to perform in the Garden. It’s a dream come true, I’m so happy.
Shanda: It was a tough time for many of us here during Marathon Monday, what does this fight mean to you, for you to be able to represent your city?
JH: It means a lot. I want to definitely to be a here for my city. I couldn’t wait to be a part of this.
Shanda: We’ve talked a little about UFC fighter “Doomsday” but let’s talk a little bit about John Howard. Oustide of the UFC, what is it that John Howard likes to do in his spare time.
JH: John Howard likes to play video games. Tekken, Call of Duty. He likes to dance in nightclubs. I’m really just a simple guy. I really like to have fun. I’m laid back. Also, John Howard loves to ride bikes now, so any bike sponsorships out there…hook it up! (laughs)
Shanda: Bikes, like motorcycles?
JH: Street bikes. Motorcycles. That kind of thing.
Shanda: I don’t know John Howard seems like he likes to race (laughs)
JH: (Laughs) I used to but not anymore. I’m too old to do that now, I have kids to take care of and I can’t do that. They need a father around to take care of them but I love my girls and taking care of them and that’s about it. I’m happy, life is turning around for me right now.
Shanda: How long have you been fighting MMA?
JH: 10 years, it’ll be 11 in a couple of months.
Shanda: Do you have any advice who wants to fight MMA?
JH: My advice is, keep training hard. Go for the gold, don’t listen who says you can’t do
it. Believe in yourself. I’m coming from a place where no one thought that a kid from Dorchester would make it in the UFC world and I did. I came from nothing and made something out of it, so keep training hard, believe in yourself and if you really want it just be ready. Always be ready because you never know when you’ll get a phone call.
Shanda: Alright, those are great words. Now what’s next for Doomsday? What do you see for yourself in the next 5 years?
JH: Hopefully in 5…well I’ll say about 2 or 3 years I’ll get a title shot, so I can bring a gold back to Boston. That’s my goal.
Shanda: Where can people find you on social media?
JH: @Johndoomsday (twitter) John doomsday howard (IG) John Howard (FB). I’m usually really easy to get to. I respond back to my fans myself all of the time. I don’t have anyone running my social networks for me, I do it. So hit me up!
Shanda: Great! Do you want to thank anyone or send a shout out?
JH: I’d like to thank Boston, Massachusetts, the UFC, Dana White Joes Siliva, Wai Cru, Proathlete, Scott Reems, thank you all so much. All of my corner, my teammates, thanks for everything. Boston Strong! Here comes the DOOM!