Corbin Howard is set to make his professional MMA debut on Saturday at Shamrock FC 301. The 20-year-old will fight Ray Allard (0-2). Howard won’t overlook Allard for his record.
“[Allard] has a lot more experience fighting than me,” Howard told MMASucka. “He has some pretty good wins as an amateur.”
However, he feels ready to tackle the professional ranks. Howard, a 6-0 amateur, said he comes from a background of point-karate and had an athletic upbringing similar to that of two-time UFC welterweight title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. There’s more to Howard’s game than that; he said his striking leads people to overlook his grappling prowess. He was also an All-State wrestler from his high school in Missouri. Add Jiu-Jitsu to the mix and three of his six amateur victories have come via submission.
“I’m really confident going into this one,” Howard said. “I’ve been doing MMA all my life. There’s no doubt I’ve done everything I can to prepare for my professional debut.”
The young MO native trains out of St. Charles MMA, where he gets to spar daily with his fellow flyweights. He named Charles Johnson (5-0 as a pro) and Ken Porter (11-4 as a pro) as two of his main sparring partners.
Howard not only trains with successful professional fighters on a regular basis, but his big brother Jordan is also one.
“Jordan’s been my biggest role model since I was a little kid growing up.”
Jordan Howard (10-4) is the former Shamrock FC bantamweight champion who went on to secure a Bellator contract. He is currently 1-1 with the promotion. The younger of the two brothers had nothing but praise for the Bellator fighter and path he laid out.
“[Jordan’s] been my biggest role model since I was a little kid growing up,” Howard said. “The example he’s set for me as a pro, just being able to watch him for the past few years has been very beneficial to me.”
One of the best bits of MMA advice that Howard received from his older sibling was to not make the jump to professional too early. After nearly two-and-a-half years and six victories later, the time has come.
“I had a conversation with [Jordan], my dad and my head coach and we all agreed that I was ready,” Howard said.
The one thing he bears in mind as the hour of his debut looms are his roots. He is a mixed martial artist from the Midwest named Howard. There’s a certain type of stress that comes due to that.
“I think I’ve always been a highly anticipated fighter,” he said. “Even for my amateur debut. There were a lot of people who knew me because of the success that Jordan had. He’s made the Howard name pretty recognizable around the Midwest area. I feel I carry a bit of pressure because of living up to the name he’s already made for himself.”
Based on his mindset, he can handle it. Howard, heading into the biggest fight of his life, said he isn’t treating this bout any differently from his professional ones. Now it’s just time to embark down a different road, and Allard is the first obstacle on it.