Going through periods of inconsistency over the course of his 14-year MMA career, middleweight John Howard has been able to regain a bit of solidity of late with back-to-back wins the past two years.
The thing that has helped get Howard on track has not been so much inspired by the fight game, but positive changes to his personal life.
“I have my oldest daughter now full time, so that’s a good thing for me,” Howard told MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve been training. I’ve been healthy. I’ve been doing different camps, different schooling, and getting things where they need to be.”
It’s because he has a more direct role in the lives of his children that Howard has even more determination to improve in the fight game and succeed.
“It gives me good motivation,” said Howard. “It gives me something to work for and drive for. I’m actually happier to have my kids back in my life. It gives me drive to be a better person.
“I find myself training a lot more, training harder, being more focused. Now that I have kids back in my life, everything has changed, and now it’s about being a positive role model and a dad to them. Having them makes me a lot more focused.”
Coming off a win in his PFL debut in July, Howard (26-13) will look to keep his winning ways going when he faces Bruno Santos (17-2) in a 185-pound bout on the promotion’s show Thursday in Atlantic City, N.J.
“I think this comes down to who wants it more,” Howard said. “I have a lot more experience than (Santos). I think me using my experience is the edge in this fight, but I’m not looking past him at all. He likes to come forward hard, and I do too, so it’s going to be two bulls coming together and whoever doesn’t get knocked out is the winner.”
Being part of a seasonal format like the PFL uses has Howard very excited for his future prospects. As long as he wins he moves that much closer to big rewards.
“I’ve been talking about for years that there needs to be a program like this,” said Howard. “It had to be like the NBA or NFL with a regular season and playoffs. It’s about time. I’m so glad to be part of this.
“I think it changes MMA. Every round matters. If you don’t get enough points you’re not in the tournament. It’s more intriguing. If a guy doesn’t perform and doesn’t make points at a certain level, at a certain round, he doesn’t move on. It makes MMA more interesting and I love it.”