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Friday, 08/23/2013, 01:32 pm

EXCLUSIVE | John Howard Discusses His Win Over Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night 26 | Late Night Cage Side Radio

By JAKE CHASTAIN

This week on BJPenn.com’s Late Night Cage Side Radio our boys Chase and Kinch invited UFC Fight Night 26 winner, John Howard, back onto the airwaves to talk about his upset win over Uriah Hall and what he thought about his performance, his ability to hang compete at middleweight, and what he thinks is next for him inside the famed octagon. Here are some of the highlights from that interview with John Howard on Late Night Cage Side Radio:

Howard was first asked to comment on his big win over Hall and how he was feeling about his performance in that bout.

“I still can’t believe it happened,” he said. “It’s a dream come true, man.”

John was then asked if he was surprised by Hall’s approach to the fight and why he thought that he looked tentative during that bout.

“Not tentative, just a lot of respect he showed me,” he replied.“He felt my power and I felt his and we both respect each other.”

After their fight UFC President Dana White commented on Hall’s performance and stated that he doesn’t feel that Hall has what it takes to compete at the UFC level. Howard was asked to comment on White’s remarks and give his opinion on Hall and his skills. He stated, “I think Uriah Hall is just a smart fighter and he knew I wasn’t going to be an easy fight. He was just careful, man.”

Howard is a Boston native and was extremely excited to be given the chance by the UFC to fight on the Boston fight card in front of his home crowd. He was asked if fighting in Boston added any extra pressure to the fight or if it was just another day on the grind for him. He answered, “Not that much pressure. I was like, you know what, it’s my home town and I’ve been there before. I felt comfortable and all the pressure was on him.”

Howard was then asked if he was surprised that the decision was split rather than unanimous and he agreed.

“I thought it was unanimous, honestly. I thought I was pressing the fight more, I thought I was going for it more,” he explained. He continued by stating that he couldn’t be upset with the judges because, “It was a close fight. It was a good fight.”

Before this bout Howard was not in the UFC. He had fought for the company in the past but was released following a couple very close decisions, one of them being a split decision loss to Matt Brown. When asked if this fight, being his return to the UFC, was sweet for any particular reason. He agreed and explained by saying, “I belong with the best. I’ve proved I can hang with the best.”

In his previous UFC stint Howard was fighting at welterweight. However, his return against Uriah Hall was a middleweight bout. Howard was asked if he was going to stay at middleweight or if he wanted to drop to welterweight.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I feel I can make it at 185s. I have the striking power so I think I can deal with this weight class right now.”

Howard was then asked if he was shocked or surprised that Hall was not as strong as him and was resorting to his wrestling early in the bout. Howard replied, “I was not shocked. I was sure my strength would be close to his but I think working with bigger guys really helped me for this fight.”

John Howard, although he already had wins inside the UFC, was a huge underdog coming into this fight. He was asked if that bothered him and why he felt the odds-makers chose Hall as such a heavy favorite.

“I think they liked him for his flash,” he explained. “I think I should have been at least 2 to 1, 3 to 1.”

Although he felt he should have been the favorite heading into the fight and Dana White is being very critical of Hall’s performance, Howard feels that he is definitely capable at beating some of the UFC competition.

“Give him a little experience, give him a little time,” he said, “He’s definitely on the UFC level.”

Hall seemed very timid in the fight, mainly due to getting caught with a huge overhand thrown by Howard in the first round. John was asked if that strike is what he feels changed the fight. he replied, “I think he just respected it after I did it.”

“Once he felt the power was there he kind of changed.”

Howard knew Hall had impressive striking skills and wanted to match those skills in their bout. He landed some huge leg kicks that shook Hall and Howard was asked to talk about his game plan on the striking end of things. He stated, “Because he was tall I wanted to work his legs and I’ve been working my Muay Thia hard. So I’ve been training a lot of standup.”

Matt Brown, who Howard has also fought inside the UFC, also competed on UFC Fight Night 26 and was victorious over Mike Pyle in under 30 seconds. Howard was asked to touch on their relationship and their future plans to train together.

“Me and Matt Brown had a great fight and he won that fight,” “It just makes sense now that we’re in two different weight classes.”

Howard then discussed his return to the cage following his win in Boston and explained how much time he’d like to take off before beginning training again to spend time with family and such. He stated, “I’d like to take a couple of months off,” but that may change is the UFC needs him or lines him up with a big named opponent.

John was then asked what this win did for his confidence and how much it boosted his value as a fighter. He explained, “It feels like I should have been here and I should have been fighting with the best, you know? I’m still relevant.”

He was also asked why Joe Rogan did not interview him following his upset over Uriah Hall. Howard was just as stumped as everyone else and said, “I don’t know. Good question. I’d like to know that too.”

He then closed on what he expects for his future in the UFC and in MMA in general. He stated, “I’m still going strong. I’m still in my prime. I’m 30, I feel good and I’m definitely going to be here for some time.”

We would like to thank Mr. Howard for taking the time out of his schedule to discuss his recent win at UFC Fight Night 26 and we wish him all the best of luck in whatever comes his way next. We look forward to seeing more of him inside the UFC octagon.

-Jake Chastain

@jchastain45

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