It’s been two years since bantamweight Shane Howell last fought, but for good reason.
As Howell explained to MMAWeekly.com, his personal life took precedent and only now after getting things settled was he able to return to fighting.
“The reason I quit and took off was because I had a son that was premature,” said Howell. “He was only one pound when he was born. So I had to switch jobs and go to nights so I could stay home during the day, while my wife could work during the day and watch my kid.”
When Howell does return on Friday at Legacy FC 29, he’ll do so having won nine out of his last 10 fights thanks to finally training like other fighters had.
“I probably had 10 pro fights before I ever started training,” said Howell. “I got tired of getting choked and decided I’d get into the gym and learn what everybody else knows and it’s been working pretty good for me. Hopefully I can keep that finish streak going for me.
“I learn something new every day. Even if I’m not trying to, it’s hard to not learn something when you’re training with a good group of guys. My teammates are always teaching me and I’m always learning something new to add to it.”
At Legacy 29, Howell (13-7) will face his biggest challenge yet as he steps up to 145 pounds to take on defending champion Leonard Garcia (18-11-1) in the evening’s main event.
“I have to go up a weight class, but I couldn’t have gotten a better fighter with his name, his style and my style,” said Howell of Garcia. “If I was going up a weight class to fight a wrestler, it would be scary, but to fight Leonard who likes to stand, it’s a perfect fight for me.
“I think every fight with Leonard, no matter who he fights, it’s going to be a war. He tends to bring out the brawling in people and turns it into his fight. So yeah I’m expecting a five-round war with Leonard and couldn’t imagine anything else.”
For Howell, while this may be the biggest opportunity of his career to date, he’s not overwhelmed and is approaching March 21 like he would any other fight.
“I just take it one fight at a time,” said Howell. “I never see past the next fight. I just fight every fight like it might be my last. I’m just excited to get to fight Leonard Garcia and fight in Legacy.
“I don’t do this for the money. I fight to fight. I’ve got a good job and my wife has a good job, so this is all fun and games for me. I have nothing to lose. Leonard’s got everything to lose. This is what he does for a living, it’s his belt, and so it’s a win-win situation for me.”