When John Howard steps in the cage to face Ryan LaFlare at UFC Fight Night 40 in Abu Dhabi on April 11th, it will be for his 31st professional fight. “Doomsday” is 10-year veteran of the sport, and that is experience that he feels will be the difference-maker against LaFlare, who’s undefeated at 10-0.
Fighting in Abu Dhabi is a difficult task in itself. A 15-hour flight to a time-zone that is eight hours ahead means you lose quite a bit of time, not to mention the daily highs of around 98 degrees Fahrenheit this time of year. Howard isn’t fazed by any of the difficulties of fighting in the desert, as this isn’t his first time fighting in a hot climate.
“I’ve fought and trained in Thailand,” Howard said in a recent interview on The MMA Word podcast. “Which is probably just as hot, or close to it, so I’m not worried about the heat. Training in the heat is not big deal, I’ve fought in heat before. If you’ve never done it before, it can be a reality check, but I’ve done it before, so I know how it feels.”
“I’ve been to Thailand, which is like a 24-hour trip. I’ve been all over the world, so it’s no big deal fighting overseas. It isn’t my first time fighting overseas, so I’m excited.”
In LaFlare, Howard sees a dangerous prospect with formidable grappling skills.
“He’s a good, well rounded fighter.” He said. “He’s probably a better wrestler than me, but I think I’m the better striker. I just think I have more experience. Even though he’s undefeated and I’m the underdog, that’s no big deal to me.”
“I just think I’ve been around the block a little bit more than he has, and my experience will win me this fight.”
Howard has been working with Bellator middleweight and NCAA Division III All-American wrestler Brennan Ward, and bringing in fighters will similar styles as LaFlare.
“I’m [training with] taller guys, I’m getting a lot of guys who are good at jiu jitsu and good wrestlers, to mimic his style, a lot of good southpaws.”
Even though he’s prepared to grapple with LaFlare, Howard would still much rather keep the fight standing, and doesn’t plan on wasting any time if his opponent decides to meet him there.
“He likes to bang. He bangs and he’s good enough to take you down. I hope he stands in the pocket with me. If he stands in the pocket with me, I think it’s going to be a bad night for him. I’m definitely a pocket fighter. If he gives me the opportunity and stays in the pocket with me, I think it’s going to be a quick night for him.”