Coming off of back-to-back losses, John Howard will likely be fighting for his UFC survival in his next bout.
It’ll be Doomsday vs. the Hitman when he squares off with Martin Kampmann at UFC on Versus 4 on June 26 in Pittsburgh. Howard had been angling for a fight with Anthony Johnson – a fighter he has verbally sparred with in the media lately – after losing to Thiago Alves in his last fight.
“My beef with (Johnson) is that he went online talking all of this trash (saying) ‘I’m going to stand and bang (with Dan Hardy).’ Then he threw one high kick and took him down for 15 minutes. Really?” Howard explained on MMAWeekly Radio Weekend Edition. “That’s my beef, he talks so much crap… I’m so sick of him… he talks so much trash and he doesn’t back it up.”
Johnson, however, is fighting Nate Marquardt in the main event at UFC on Versus 4. That’s not to say that Howard is disappointed in drawing Kampmann, quite the opposite, in fact. Both men have been fighting top competition and that can never be taken as a bad thing.
“I was kind of shocked. I thought I was going back to the undercard and get some no name to fight (on the prelims),” said Howard. “But now I’m on the main
card fighting a main guy.”
Howard’s back-to-back losses were handed to him by Jake Ellenberger and the aforementioned Alves; so there is no slowing down for him. He may even need to step it up a notch, fighting another man that maybe needs a win just as bad as he does.
Kampmann is also coming off of dual losses – to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez. So he’ll not only be his usual tough self, like Howard, he’ll have that edge of desperation, fighting for his place in the Octagon.
Not only that, but the style match-up could be tougher than Howard’s most recent battle. Alves played more into a style that Howard is known for, slugging it out with power shots, looking to drop the other fighter. Kampmann’s approach is based more on his precision.
“Thiago is more explosive and has a lot more power. He hits to finish you. Kampmann is more technical. Thiago hits to hurt you, Kampmann hits to score.”
That may sound like an easier fight, but it’s not necessarily so. Howard is used to banging, the timing of it, the power of it. Kampmann’s speed and elusive footwork could prove a difficult task for a heavy hitter like Howard. But then again, it only takes one solid touch from Howard to put a fighter to sleep.
Howard sees Kampmann as a Top 10 level fighter, and knows that task before him, as he tries to retain his place on the UFC roster. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I can’t complain; I take it as a compliment.”