John Howard on Training with Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev


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John Howard has not lost since the UFC released him in 2011.

Now “Doomsday” wants another shot in the Octagon, and he hopes the opportunity will come Aug. 17 when the UFC returns to his backyard of Boston. The card looks full for now, but Howard is still pushing for a chance.

In an interview Monday with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, he discussed the UFC, his brush with Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and more.

On training with Tsarnaev at Wai Kru MMA in Boston: “The reason why he trained at my gym was because he was a good boxer. He wanted a good sparring partner, and most gyms he went to, a lot of guys couldn’t hang with his boxing. He was beating guys up. The reason why he came to Wai Kru was because you had me as a UFC fighter and you had other good strikers there who weren’t scared to take a beating or give one. That’s how I knew him.”

On sparring with Tsarnaev: “One day we was sparring and it got a little too physical. Me being an MMA fighter and him being a boxer, it was like a little rivalry thing and we were boxing and we kind of went kind of hard one time. I give him credit. He was a good boxer, but because of the power I possess, I could put anybody down, I believe. What happened was, he got a little cocky. He was touching me up. He was getting the best of me. We went at it, and I caught him with my left hook, my famous left hook, and broke his nose. When I broke his nose, he covered his face. His body was open, so I turned my angle and I hit him with a body shot -- with my right hand, a body shot, and I dropped him. That was the end of the sparring match.”

On whether he felt bad when this happened: “At that point in time, I did. I did feel kind of bad. I was like, ‘Man, I went too far.’ But ever since the tragedy happened, I don’t feel bad. The only thing I regret is I didn’t keep hitting him and choke him out and put him out of his misery.”

On not being on the UFC’s upcoming Boston card: “I don’t understand it. I think I deserved to be on this card. I don’t even know, man. I just actually fought last Friday, literally just last Friday and I beat the guy in two minutes and 14 seconds. The fight before that, I knocked the guy out in 23 seconds in the first round. So I don’t know, man. I put it out there that if they want me to fight for free, I’ll fight for free. I want to fight in Boston. I’ve never fought in the TD Garden before. It was a childhood dream always to fight in your home state and the biggest arena in your city. That’s what I want. It’s about glory for me. I don’t even care about the money. I just want to fight in my hometown.”

On whether he has offers from other companies: “Other organizations called me. They put numbers up, and I’m looking at my options right now. I’ve got to be honest: I do want to fight for the UFC. The reason why I want to fight for the UFC is because it’s in Boston. I want to be on this Boston card. That’s what I want, but I’ve got other organizations talking to me, hitting me with numbers and I’m just surfing my options for what’s best right now. … Right now I’m hoping and waiting, but I can’t wait for so long because this is how I feed my kids. This is a full-time job for me, so if I’m not fighting, I can’t do nothing. I’ve got to make plans and do something. I’m going to give it a little time. I’m going to be a little patient, but if the time doesn’t pan out right, then I’m going with my best option.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 23:30).

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