John J. Howard (born March 1, 1983) is an American professional mixed martial artist currently competing in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A professional competitor since 2004, Howard has also formerly competed for the International Fight League and the Cage Fury Fighting Championships.
Howard was born and raised by his single mother along with his brother in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts where he still resides to this day. Dorchester is one of the roughest neighborhoods in the state and Howard got into fights often while growing up. In high school, Howard played football and basketball and learned the electrical trade after getting his high school degree. He found martial arts after going to a Job Corps to get his high school diploma where he learned grappling from a freestyle grappler. Later on in his career he has become well known for his wrestling skills and takedowns in MMA despite not having any background in it . After graduating, Howard began training at a local gym. Howard’s nickname „Doomsday“ is from the infamous villain who killed Superman. Howard once sparred against Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a boxer, when the two trained at Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts in Boston.
Howard made his UFC debut on January 31, 2009 against Chris Wilson at UFC 94, winning via split decision.
He then faced Tamdan McCrory at UFC 101. This fight was significant for both as the two had become friends fighting on promotions in the Northeast. Howard won the fight via split decision.
Howard fought Dennis Hallman on December 5, 2009 at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale. After getting out-grappled for most of the fight, Howard knocked out Hallman at 4:55 of the third round.
Howard was expected to face Anthony Johnson on March 21, 2010 at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones, but Johnson sustained an injury during training. UFC newcomer Daniel Roberts stepped in to be Howard’s new opponent. Howard defeated Roberts via first round KO.
Howard was defeated by Jake Ellenberger via third round TKO due to doctor stoppage at UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko. Though Howard had success on the feet, he was unable to defend the takedowns of Ellenberger. Ellenberger would go on to cause Howard’s left eye to close after repeatedly landing short elbows and punches from the guard leading to the stoppage,
Howard next faced former title challenger Thiago Alves on December 11, 2010 at UFC 124. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.
Howard was expected to face Martin Kampmann on June 26, 2011 at UFC on Versus 4 However, Kampmann was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Matt Brown. Howard was defeated by Brown after three tough rounds via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). After the loss to Brown, Howard was released from the promotion.
Howard made his CES debut at CES MMA: Never Surrender against Todd Chattelle for the CES Middleweight Championship. He won via TKO in the second round.
Howard made his first title defense against Scott Rehm. He won via TKO.
Howard’s next title defense was against Brett Chism. He won via TKO.
Howard’s next title defense was at CES MMA: Path to Destruction
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, against Jason Louck. He won via KO just 23 seconds into the first round.
Howard defended his title for the fourth time against Chris Woodall. He won via KO in the first round.
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, Howard openly stated that he would like to be on the UFC Fight Night 26 card in Boston, Massachusetts in August 2013 to show support for his hometown. On July 17, 2013, it was announced that he would appear on the card, replacing Josh Samman in a Middleweight bout against Uriah Hall. He defeated Hall via split decision.
Howard returned to Welterweight and faced Siyar Bahadurzada on December 28, 2013 at UFC 168. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Howard faced Ryan LaFlare at UFC Fight Night 39. He lost the fight by unanimous decision.
Howard was then expected to face Rick Story at UFC Fight Night 45 on July 16, 2014. However, he was forced from the bout due to injury and was replaced by returning veteran Leonardo Mafra.
Howard faced Brian Ebersole on September 27, 2014 at UFC 178. He lost the fight via split decision.
Howard faced Lorenz Larkin on January 18, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 59. He lost the fight via TKO in the first round.
Howard was expected to face Brandon Thatch on July 11, 2015 at UFC 189. However on June 23, Thatch was pulled from that bout in favor of a fight with Gunnar Nelson as his scheduled opponent John Hathaway was forced out with injury. Howard faced Cathal Pendred at the event. Howard won the fight via split decision.
Howard faced Tim Means on December 10, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 80. He lost the fight via knockout in the second round.
Howard has three daughters who live with their mother. Before fighting professionally, Howard worked as an electrician. He is also a diehard New England Patriots fan, and is a fan all of the professional teams out of Boston including the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, and the Boston Bruins. He also enjoys playing video games in his free time.