John Howard hasn't competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship since a 2011 loss to Matt Brown capped a three-fight losing streak and sent him packing from the world's biggest promotion all the way to the minor leagues around the United States.
Even in his sabbatical from the UFC, there was no question that Howard had the talent to compete with the mid- to upper-tier guys in his division. After all, the three consecutive losses that sent him packing from the company? They came at the hands of Jake Ellenberger, Thiago Alves and Brown. Even today, that's what we call a welterweight Murderers' Row.
After compiling a 6-1 record outside the UFC (and even offering to fight for free if given the opportunity to compete in Boston), Howard makes his return to the promotion against last season's Ultimate Fighter golden boy Uriah Hall.
Hall was built up as a monster during the filming of the show, but he ultimately fell flat on his face in the live finale against Kelvin Gastelum. And in the immortal words of Shania Twain, that don't impress Howard much:
Fighting Uriah Hall, I think he's good. A little overrated. He knocked out some guys with some flashy stuff. That's good, it's impressive, but my thing is, who did he fight? He fought Ultimate Fighter fighters. What people have to understand is these guys are not legit UFC fighters; they're guys who are trying to be a UFC fighter. Let's switch sides, let me be Uriah Hall, put me in the house. What do you think would happen? Not only do I have knockouts in the UFC, I have knockouts throughout my career. I have more knockouts than him. And the people I knocked out were more creditable.
I believe the word Howard intended to use was "credible," since "creditable" is actually a bit of a backhand insult and I don't think that's the effect he intended.
But either way, does Howard have a point? In his previous UFC stint, Howard knocked out Daniel Roberts and Dennis Hallman. After being released, Howard knocked out a whole bunch of dudes I've never heard of. And not that this is the hallmark of how good someone is, but exactly zero of Howard's post-UFC knockout victims have their own Wikipedia page.
Let's hope Howard, despite being a late replacement and having nothing to lose, is not underestimating Hall. If he is, we might see the Hall from the TUF house return.
You know, the one Chael Sonnen said could beat Anderson Silva right now.