There’s no denying the past couple years have been difficult for lightweight Devin Powell, but he’s tried to see the good in the bad he’s encountered.
In addition to injury issues and his release from the UFC, Powell’s gym faced its own catastrophe, but after time, both he and his gym have been able to rebound and are back in better form in the late stage of 2019.
“Before I had my fight in Argentina (last November), like four days before I signed my contract, my academy actually flooded, so the whole main training room was destroyed,” Powell told MMAWeekly.com. “We lost everything.
“We definitely had a lot of rebuilding as far as a gym owner. We rebuilt and we’re at a higher amount of numbers in the gym by a long shot, so the new stuff has definitely paid off. So if there’s a silver lining – I don’t want to say a blessing in disguise – it’s better than ever now.”
In addition to his gym rebuild, Powell has been working at other gyms in the Northeast. Having the opportunity to see how he does against other top level talent has helped his confidence as he continues to compete at high levels in MMA.
“I’m very fortunate to have Joe Lauzon to let me go down there to train with my teammates,” said Powell. “Going into a fight against that next level competition when you’re training with it already is huge.
“I was training with very good guys, but it was one of those things with confidence and just knowing where you are, being yourself, being able to go in there knowing you can compete with these guys really helps before you get in there and get one of those fights.”
On Saturday in Uncasville, Conn., Powell (9-4) will look to start a new chapter in his career on the right foot when he faces Marcus Surin (6-1) in a 155-pound preliminary bout at Bellator 232.
“I think the key to victory is just not being blanketed,” Powell said. “Obviously (Surin is) a good grappler, he was a D-1 wrestler and was the captain of his team, so clearly he knows how to control people, but I don’t think I get controlled that easily.
“I think if he’s trying to stalemate and just do enough to not get stood up, I’ve got to move. If he’s trying to fight me and actually engage, then I feel very confident on the ground. If things don’t work out that way, I have to work to get my feet. I feel I’m a lot more well-rounded on my fight; I have a lot more tools and weapons to use.”
Having injury issues in the past, for right now Powell just wants to stay healthy and remain as active as he can when it comes to 2020.
“I want to win this fight and be healthy,” said Powell. “If I could say what I want for a goal, ideally it would be to do well enough for them to consider me for whenever (Bellator does) a 155lb tournament. But that’s looking way ahead. I’ve got to get through this fight, rehab some slight injuries I’m working through right now, and then we’ll go from there.”