John “Doomsday” Howard (12-4, 2-0 UFC) is in for the fight of his life this weekend. The UFC rookie will take on UFC veteran and MMA legend Dennis “Superman” Hallman (41-12-2, 1-3 UFC), who is making his UFC return Saturday night at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale in Las Vegas, Nev.
Hallman’s last bout inside the Octagon took place in Oct. 2005 against Jorge Rivera at UFC 55. Hallman lost that fight by unanimous decision. Since then, he has gone 7-1, with his most recent fight being a 20 second rear-naked choke submission victory over Justin Davis at Strikeforce – Challengers Series 2 back in June.
John “Doomsday” Howard spoke to ProMMA.info recently in an exclusive interview about what it meant to fight an icon like Hallman:
Yeah definitely my biggest fight. I’m fighting a legend in the sport man. It’s actually an honor to be fighting him. He’s been in the game for years. I’m going to do my best and hopefully the best outcome happens.
When you look at how the two fighters match-up, at 26-years-of-age, Howard should have the speed advantage, he has impressive wrestling-for-MMA, has finished most of his fights by submission, and seems to have the better stand-up game.
Of course the 35-year-old Hallman, who is a veteran of well over 50 fights, is much more experienced. Also, he is not just good at submissions – with 32 of his 41 wins coming by submission, he is a bona fide master. Having said that, he only has three wins via (T)KO, and one of those (Matt Hughes) came via guillotine choke.
John discussed how he felt he matched up with Hallman:
Obviously, he’s a better grappler. I think I’m a better striker. I think I match up pretty good against him. I’m going to use my speed and my boxing against him, and use my takedown defense, and my jiu-jitsu defense against him.
If you have seen John Howard fight, you probably think he was a high level collegiate wrestler, probably a state champ in high school, something like that. In fact, much like UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre, Howard began wrestling when he started training MMA.
Howard explained how his wrestling progressed so fast:
Actually, I started wrestling when I started MMA believe it or not. I just wrestled high-caliber D-1 All-American wrestlers, you know. That’s why my wrestling got so good.
“Doomsday” trains out of the Wai Kru academy in Boston and has a complete well-rounded team that helps him prepare for fights. He also works with the Lauzon brothers.
You can often learn a lot about a fighter from what their coaches say about them. We asked John how his coaches felt about him, at this point in his career, fighting a legend like Dennis Hallman.
They are really excited for me. They have all the confidence in the world for me. They say it’s my time and that I’m ready to fight the legends and beat the best; beat the people who were the best to become the best.
On Saturday, Dec. 5, the MMA world will find out if John “Doomsday” Howard is in fact ready to take that next step in his career. Is he ready to start fighting the big names? Is he on his way to a top ten match-up and a legitimate run for the title? Or does he need more time, more experience in the big show?
This fight will answer a lot of those questions.
By: Jack Bratcher