Ep. #5 – Devin Powell

Devin Powell is a former UFC lightweight who earned his UFC contract on Dana White’s Looking for a Fight, and most recently competed at Bellator 232. The BJJ Black Belt is also the owner and head instructor of Nostos Mixed Martial Arts.


Devin Powell, hey how’s, it going pretty good, so you can see and hear me. Alright, alright, perfect um, so I guess we’ll just get started with. How are things man with coronavirus? Are you uh how you holding up just spend some time with your family? Not really much else, we can do I own an MMA gym, but we’re closed, obviously so yeah just kind of deal with all that yeah. How is that coaching wise? Your your new coach, obviously obviously, probably all has to be done. Fortunately, yeah so yeah just coaching from home, so it’s not easy, but you know we have a like 17 different coaches at our gym, they’re, all kind of doing their part to put videos up, live streams or just videotape recorded of classes or technique or or whatnot, And you know we’re doing everything that we can to keep everyone as satisfied as possible. But you know this: one is we’re losing a lot of members because of this yeah, I’m the hard core people don’t really want to uh. You know they don’t want to deal with it. You know deal with pain without being able to be in the gym, but what it is how’s how’s training going. Obviously you had that huge win back in October and then you had a surgery right in January or yeah, so trainings been going well, I’m just not cleared to do everything yet, unfortunately, I’m doing what I can you know if I’m getting stronger in a lot of Areas and I’m learning how to kind of you know deal with everything, that’s going on and also become a better coach, because I can’t be as self-involved as self-involved as I normally am. You know, like I’m, trying to teach classes and also get my own rounds and at the same time now I can’t really do that so yeah, it’s a little different, but it’s good. It’S good for the students having me a little more sidelined. Yeah. Do you uh? Do you have an idea of a like a potential return date? Obviously you’re, not a hundred percent yet back to training. So obviously that’s gon na be dependent on the coronavirus. But do you have an idea whose it, the summer month before before I’m cleared to uh, to really like do a lot of the stuff, but a lot of stuff that they’re telling you that I’m not gon na be cleared for a month where I’m already doing I’Ve been holding pads for providers and moving fast pace for over a month. Now I think that their normal recoveries they’re different. You know from person to person and being a professional athlete, that’s really trying hard to get back, doing all the strength and addition and all the physical therapy that I can it’s a different timeline but yeah. I hope I can fight my summer. I was trying to actually pick up a fight. No, I guess not trying too hard yeah the whole UFC thing where they needed fighters to the London thing. Yeah my manager at this point with my career, I’m just I’m trying to do things that are exciting. You know I want to see the world and I want to – and I just want fights that excite me and the fact that they needed fighters. Unlike a weeks notice in the United States, everyone that was gon na step up, probably wasn’t gon na be in perfect fight shape, and I just told my manager hey if they have a 55 that wants to fight it 170. I mean he said you know getting a big payday, even though I you know I coming off a knee surgery. I haven’t done any real real training in a while. If you like, it’s a it’s one of those weird roll. The dice situations that I kind of threw myself in not really smart thing to go for, but you know I just I put myself out there. I feel feel like I’m pretty good cardio wise, I’m doing almost reconditioning and stuff. I’M just not cleared for certain motions that are potentially dangerous to tear my knee again, but you know what making conditioning twice a week and doing all my my bike work. All my cardio work hitting pads and stuff. I just can’t roll alive and they can’t I’ve done some sparring just controlled. I have to avoid any like takedowns and stuff yeah. What was what was behind me? I mean, obviously you had the fights in the UFC. What was behind going to Bellator? Obviously, as we leave the UFC tend to, if they have the idea of making it back to the UFC, they tend to sign for like LFA or Titan, or something like some guys. Gon na have one Fc. What was what was the decision behind Bellator? I didn’t basically with the UFC, they just said they couldn’t find me any fights and that I could go fight locally, a couple fights and they had me back, but I didn’t expect me to go fight locally again. I’Ve never fought for LFA or anything, and I think that’s a pretty solid promotion. But what excited me was a chance to fight for, like a you know, one of the biggest leagues in the world and have my friends and family can go, and that was Bellator at the big casino. You know so we went to Mohegan Sun. I brought close to 200 people, you know, and it was an awesome experience. They supposedly they’re interested in me and in looking to have me stick around. But if they do, you know, I’d have to have a good contract and get paid well for it to be worth the squeeze. I would love to fight for one Fc arisen, anything that that pays well again at this point in my career being you know, the gym is doing really well, except for this. This huge speed bump. We have a lot of fighters that are getting ready for fights getting delayed. Sadly, but we got a lot of people I get to take care of so to take another fight camp. It’S a lot of work and you know I have to travel more. I already go to Joe Lauzon gym on Mondays train and they go to skill strength on Thursdays to train. Those both was both are in Massachusetts, so it’s a decent amount of traveling and then I’m also teaching at my gym and training at my gym six days. A week, so it’s uh it’s a lot and to do anymore is really tough, so it’s always like is the juice worth the squeeze. You know, and at this point it’s like he’s it a big stage where you know I have the excitement to get through my camp and then am i financially gon na be able to take care of myself or my family after all, after all said and done, Because every fight I’ve had, for the last, like four years, dating back to the Dana White fight, looking for a fight, show fight like everyone, I’ve gotten hurt. You know I’ve gotten injuries. I’Ve had surgeries, you know it’s uh, it’s tough! It’S a tough sport, so yeah commit to yeah. That was a fight that I mean I hired UFC Fan. I’Ve watched it for years, but the fight against Lemke was incredible like the way he fought was a-sayin and even the last fight against Suriname in Bellator yeah. That that finish, remarkable finish, what was your thoughts when he tried to take down the the ref like? I didn’t go out and he was still fighting even when he was out his body was still it didn’t, go like limp or anything. So it was just the perfect timing that he went out. You know the second, the bell rang, I think he went out, I let go and he just gone out and his body was still trying to like go fight or flight and he grabbed the ref. And then I you know the second. I saw that I was kind of like I said it kind of quietly, like you know, he’s out. Like he’s, you know it’s one of those weird things to process, but then like he wasn’t letting go, and there was like he’s out he’s out like he. This the fights over like at first like, when, I kind of said it lightly. It’S like all right he’s out like. Are you gonna? Do something about it, but part of me at that like split seconds thinking like alright look, he’s gonna let go and I’m gonna go back and fight the third round, and then it was like wow it’s over. It’S it before the second. I let go. I had a quick flash. I was like yeah you can, so he can swear why that’s split. Second, when I let go, though, before I even looked up at him, it’s like , I’m gonna go back to my corner and go out through round three after, like just that ten seconds or so of like that squeeze like it cooks your arm. So it’s like. Let me go back to the third round, like I’m probably gon na, be you know pretty cooked for just from that trying to get the finish but yeah paying off putting everything into that a lot of people. Kind of hang on to the neck, and that short time, I’m just hurt to look good and not put everything into it, but clearly I put everything into that squeeze like everything they had put him out. Yeah, I think. Like the first person you see, you ran into after that fight was Joe and Ben. Joe has been my favorite fighter since, since I started watching it, what was if what was the feeling? Was it like relief after your injuries and after that loss getting cut from the UFC? What was it like relief? Was it a sense of thank God? What was the feeling there yeah I’ve always wanted. Just want everybody to know what I know myself. Like Joe knows it Joe trains with me, I bet you anything that he would say that my jujitsu is is some of the best that he’s you know he’s seen I feel like. I can compete with anybody in the sport in my weight class. I just usually can’t choose to stand with people new, I think babe for a while. I wanted me to do less than that, but I mean I feel like I’m. I can finish anyone my feet as well, but it’s just I’ve always wanted to have everybody else see what my coaches see see. What I know I’m capable of you know. I had three rough goes in the UFC with decisions, the only one that I feel like. I you know I got outclassed, not even that bad. It was just really strategic. Was your car. You know he held me on the fence. It was a great strategy for three rounds. Yeah broker’s a good amount of strikes, some good kicks and whatnot, but really is just 15 minutes of getting held on the wall, and that was like that. Did it my second loss in the OCI yeah out struck my opponent, I doubled his strike count. The first round was like a toss-up. You know I controlled the first half the second half. I got reversed on the takedown and nothing happened. I just was on my back, you know and then second round he won third round I won. So that was a split decision. I lost next one. I won a liver, kick and then the next one. After that, I thought I won the first round and then I went completely blonde in my my right eye for the you know almost the whole second and third round, I’m cuz, I got a hyphema in my eye and it was one of the weirdest thing that Was the worst injury I’ve had in the fight, even though it only stuck for it only stay with me until I left the hospital, but that was scary, so you know everything went dark. I couldn’t see anything. It was just a dark shade of yellow your your UFC careers in defied by but by injuries and one of the guys we spoke of Joe, I’m sure, you’ve heard. But you probably shared this story countless times, but I have to ask: how is it doing and what exactly happened yeah? So that was just a training injury. We were doing jiu-jitsu most guys, don’t wear cups when they do jiu-jitsu you’re not even allowed to compete with a cup on in like world stage jujitsu, but he went for a knee cut pass and the stars aligned in the most gruesome way where his knee came Up and I came straight down and smashed like my testicle between his knee and like white helmet bone kinda, I think so it was just you know. It was just a nutcracker, I mean it ruptured it. I waited a day and a half to go be seen and then, when I get seen. Finally, the ultrasound came back and they’re just like have you had anything to eat or drink, and I was like [ __ ]. That means I’m going in for surgery and they’re like yeah. You got. You got emergency, sir emergency surgery coming up. They had to bring a doctor in there to get it done, so they had to cut out part of it and then stitch it back up, and I have metal stitches in there for the rest of my life. So yeah I mean it could have been worse. A lot of people from those injuries lose it entirely, but you know they. Basically, it’s like inside of a baseball, you know the baseball explodes and then all like the stitching starts coming out, absolutely cut that and then they stitch the baseball back up with what they could yeah I’ve done a little bit of jiu-jitsu. I mean I’ve. Not I don’t have any martial arts experience, but I do I’ve done jiu-jitsu for about six months and same sort of thing. You know you get a knee in the face, your elbows or whatever, but that that’s one that I’ve never even heard of until I until I saw the until I saw the post and I was like that – can’t be real man now, I’m I’m! Well, I’m glad that that worked out as best as I could best case, that story to bring it up. You probably had had to share that countless times, but in a weird morbid way. It’S like it’s the best thing that happened to my career, like so I had those two fights in the UFC that I lost decisions and I kept begging the UFC to just find me a fight you know like I want. I knew I could prove that I I could win inside that cage and, and then you know like I just kept trying to make these videos to try and make them go viral like stupid. Stuff me jumping in the you know in the snow like in just like valley to toe shorts, and then I went and did like a plunge in the water when it was like negative-20 out with Chucky’s fight and nothing. You know nothing was happening. I was doing everything I could and I just wanted to fight and it’d been a long time and then finally, I get hurt and it gets on Jim Rome. You know I do an interview with Jim Rome on I’m on. Ariel Helwani show I’m on TMZ all this stuff and Jim Rome like. I asked him like he, yes, like what I wanted to say at the end, it’s like all I want is a another fight with the UFC give me another shot, and then I get the call on thirty days notice after thirteen months of not having a fight And I fought in Canada in Calgary and got I got the win, you know and then right after that I was put in physical therapy he’s my back was hurt and then like a couple months after that was still in physical therapy. I got a call saying that I was fighting in Argentina because they announced it on Twitter without even asking me, and then I talked to my managers like hey what what’s going on here. It says I’m fighting in Argentina, but I’m still in physical therapy trying to recover some disc issues. In my back and he’s like yeah, I guess I guess they offered it to the other camp and they kind of leaked it to the press or whatever, and we got ta kind of got. Ta take it. So you know then all get wrong. We got ta fight in Argentina and you know just everything kept going, but uh yeah, so that whole thing was, you know blessing in disguise got me. You know. A lot of publicity got me that that next fight yeah, how is uh how was fighting? I think that was the only other than the fight in Canada. I believe that’s the only fight you’ve ever fought outside of the United States. Am I correct yeah yeah yeah? How was how is that, like fighting a you know, two completely different time zone, different country? You know having a jet lag, was it was it unusual? Was it different was, do you think jet lag had any impact on the performance itself or no, I felt great in that first round it was like I felt aggressive. I was chasing down. I mean the whole fight I feel like I chased him down, except for whenever he caught a kick and I fell on my butt and he literally wouldn’t do anything he sat over me wasn’t even like kicking my legs really or anything he just sat and when I just I wouldn’t engage in my guard so yeah. You know it that that fight week was a little weird like for a lot of it. I laid in bed because I felt sick, though pretty much the whole time there, but I had I paid for a dietitian to make me all my food. We cut went well yeah, I mean I just uh, just the job done. It was uh, it was a cool experience, I’d love to fight in another country. Again, I don’t think that that had anything to do with. You know how I fought or the fact that I sustained like that yeah the I I or what not I just you know it’s just how the how it plays out. Sometimes I fought a young hungry kid that uh that you know stuck to his strategy. Just tried to hit and run and run and run, and you know he’s like he got the decision that night. You know I ended up in the hospital with my eye and then he fought again and he tried to do that same stuff. I mean he got out pointed by Makdessi and he got cut so he you know he didn’t. He doesn’t really in those fights. He didn’t really try to fight. No, it sucks that I got stuck with the loss against them and then he fought he got lost and then he just gets cut because he’s not you know, he’s not fighting the way he does on his highlight reel when we watched his highlights. You know it came straight forward, just knocking people out cold and then I was coming straight at him. He’S running the whole time, so yeah frustrating very frustrating. But if there’s, if there’s one fight where, let’s say let’s say, I’m someone who’s, never watched you fight, is there one fight that you’re? Like that’s the fight you should watch me in like? I personally think I really like the one that got you the contract to the UFC against Lemke. Is there? Is there a fight that you prefer that you’re, like that’s the one you should watch her yeah? I think my last way he wanted to fight me. He engaged with me on the ground, so there’s some really exciting exchanges wrestling and jiu-jitsu, but yeah he was like he was there to fight. I feel like Porter was an awesome one, one two, I think some of it you know there’s some of it. That was really frustrating that first round, when I got stuck on my back, not much happened, but the second round was awesome like he beat me on my on the feet there, like he, cracked me with a shot, and I I stumbled, and I ended up on My back and he’d opened my guard, the third round. You know I had some good exchanges and then I I had a nice stars’ attempt in than a guillotine attempt that one was a fun one. I just I lost the decision, but I think the Lemke fight was awesome and then my last one was awesome. It was just a fun when you watch it back. It’S a good fight um. He has some awesome takedowns. He had a really close head, an arm that I drilled and drilled and drilled to escape from, but that’s kind of his bread and butter he’s a good collegiate wrestler. He was that the captain of his team. He was d1 wrestler. He was Frankie Edgar’s roommate, so he was a good, really good challenge. You know he’s a lot better than a lot of people might realize he’s one of sleeper fighters. He was six in one when we fought and his only loss was a decision to another, really good guy, but some guys you watched and you’re like all right. He doesn’t. He doesn’t look too scary out there, but he’s one of those guys that can just beat people. You know he’ll decision, a lot of people or he’ll catch their neck, and you know use that wrestling that had an arm kind of attacked it to put people away. So it’s kind of a risky fight to take cuz on when you look at him, it’s like all right that guy’s, you know he’s not like the scary kind of guy. So when you, if you lose to him it’s like well, he looks like you beat a guy who’s, pretty beatable, but it’s really good and I felt really good about that win and I watched it back and I don’t do that very often because I get so Frustrated with myself – and I should analyze my fights more often, but I watched that one back. You know I really enjoyed it like some of the elbows I threw you know I feel like I put a lot of good things together and it’s one of the very few fights you get to see me really using my jujitsu, which you know, I’m a solid Black belt, so yeah, I thought I mean the finish was – was remarkable like you, the way you adjusted to finish it off was really really impressive. I guess well we’ll stick with the lightweight division here. What are your predictions? I guess for both the Bellator title fight for lightweight and as well as UFC 249, who do you have winning khabib Tony? I say that is because Tony has been stuck in bad spots in the first round a lot of times and the issue is seemed to be guys. Slow Tony doesn’t but could be, can do that kind of thing and not ever slow down. You know he doesn’t slow down like some of those guys that have done those things to to Tony in the past. You know Kevin Lee, he did it, he mounted him pounded him out, and then he started slowing down so yeah just don’t think evil slow down. But Tony’s phenomenal is a great wrestler and he’s got some power. He’S got some great jokes, so I think he’s the most dangerous person for khabib so far, because I think he’s got those really good attacks. You know if, if he stuffs almost takedowns that front headlock position, it’s really dangerous for Tony those anacondas and arses are are are brutal so, but I still take to be, but I wouldn’t I wouldn’t be like. Oh my god look what happened. He could definitely put him away. It’S just uh. I would. I would definitely put my money on to be um and then, as far as the belt or one I don’t. I don’t really know the guy that pit bulls fighting but guys a phenomenal fighter who’s that mean crazy, powered athletic, and I have no clue how many fights in a row that dudes won but he’s put away a lot of really good fighters. So I’d probably say people alright, well we’ll shift away from some MMA content and how’s the guitar playing going probably have a lot of lot of free time to pick that up yeah I just picked up a new guitar Ernie Ball sent me a guitar, a music Man, mariposa minutes. It’S awesome I to play music before I get into fighting. I used to play shows all the time, and that was the only thing I cared about was playing music and playing guitar. So it’s been nice to pick it back up and to try and get you know semi-serious with it again. My goal for 2020 is that play show, so I’m just trying to put all the right pieces together and make that happen so yeah it’s been. It’S been awesome, yeah, I’m. Having the I mean, I play acoustic but same thing, a lot of lot of free time, a lot of extra time to pick it up that I’ve. I find that once I pick it up I’ll play for a while, but past a little while it’s been like I’ve, never picked it up. It’S like I have half hour. That’S not enough time to pick it up now I seem to have all the free time in the world to do what what I like to do so I’ve never really liked playing acoustic too much so now I force myself to you, can see, like my hat Stack living room here and then I have an acoustic sitting here, but the mariposa is sitting right on the couch right here, I’m forcing it to be in my face, so I find if it’s a oh you’ll play it yeah. I don’t. I don’t like ooh stick as much right, because I’m not good enough. I like distortion, and I like no, I like tapping, and you know yeah it’s just that’s my style guitar, so having my my other guitars, always in their cases. That was like just enough work to make me not want to take them out, and then I pick up the acoustic and not have too much fun doing it. So yeah kept me away. So now I have a. I had my Gibson SG sitting next to my bed on it on a guitar hanger with the little amp upstairs. So when I lay down bed, I can just pick it up and play a little bit that one over there just sitting out. Have you ever thought of playing music for your for your walk it, but his name is Mike Dion he’s one of my best friends and he has his MC name. Is I 9 ey e ni NE I’ve always walked out to his music for at least almost all my career and he’s supposed to start playing music with me. He plays bass, so he’d do some some like rapping and whatnot in the music kind of like. I. Don’T I’m not like a Linkin Park fan, but that’s the only way. I could kind of equate it where it has like vocals and then so like an MC in there, but it would be a completely different genre of music, but but I’m really interested to see how it plays he’s, really really talented. If you look him up, I 9 yeah, I mean I wrote it down, have a look walkout song by him with were alive, the new ones not released. Yet it’s called Kentucky Derby, but it will be soon, hopefully I’ll, write that down a level I’ll. Take a listen um and I guess uh last question is how is Phoebe she’s the cutest pet I’ve ever seen right there she’s just sleeping on the couch she’s, had a blast. This whole quarantine, because all she does is follow me around and every time she follows me, I get something for her to eat because I can’t handle her yeah. All the attention must be nice yeah. She likes it. Alright man! Well, thanks for thanks for taking the time, I appreciate it just getting started, and it’s it’s really nice to have have some some guys. I’Ve watched for a little while you will enjoy this. I appreciate it yeah all right best of luck with uh, with everything with coronavirus, as well as your upcoming fights and wish you the best. Thank you very much. Take care man

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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