UFC Calgary’s Devin Powell and the Risk of Living Life

Devin Powell
Devin Powell poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in on June 24, 2017 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

A life without risk is one not worth living. Not everyone in the world loves the feeling of adrenaline hiking their heart rate but for most, it is not an option. In the case of UFC Calgary’s Devin Powell, it’s all risk from here.

The New England region boasts Devin Powell as one of its finest fighters. Not too long ago, he plowed through many of the region’s lightweights, dominating through his first 8 professional fights. He only notched one decision loss during that time.

Regional Circuit Run

Towards the tail end of his regional run, injuries became a major problem. The avalanche of physical ailments first became a hindrance before NEF 22 in 2016. At the event, Powell defeated Jesse Erickson for the promotions vacant lightweight title against. The issues persisted well past his regional run and bled into his UFC career.

“When I fought for the NEF title, I was injured. I couldn’t even hit pads,” Powell told MMASucka. “[I] couldn’t even bend over, touch my toes. I was real messed up… I was hoping that I’d take a good break but during my fight camp for that, I was offered to fight for the WSOF. Which I obviously signed a contract before I even fought for NEF for the title. I got through that fight, again where it was a really difficult fight camp to go through. Then I was hoping to take the big break and the opportunity arose and I get hurt in that fight when I was already hurt going into it. Then rehabbing and trying to get to where I can compete on a world stage was difficult.”

Dana White Looking for a Fight

It wasn’t too long after he first competed for WSOF that another greater opportunity came calling. Dana White was coming to Maine for his Youtube show, ‘Dana White Looking for a Fight’. Accompanied by former UFC fighters, Matt Serra and Din Thomas the crew was to attend a NEF event in the hopes of signing some New England talent.

Originally, Powell was not going to compete at the event. But after a fighter withdrew from his bout, he pounced on the chance at competing of the UFC president. Unfortunately, this call gave the New England lightweight very little time, if any, to heal from the cumulative injuries he sustained. Yet despite this and every other excuse, a person of lesser mental strength could make, Powell handled his opponent, submitting him in the opening round of their contest.

Devin Powell’s UFC Opponents

His victory earned a spot on the UFC roster but it didn’t earn him any favors. In his promotional debut, he lost to surging prospect Drakkar Klose by unanimous decision. Powell’s second UFC bout didn’t get much easier as it pitted him against Darrell Horcher. The New Hampshire fighter lost his matchup with Horcher by a narrow split decision.

Continuing along this path to glory is dangerous for anyone. The road to the gold is marred in damaged limbs, torn muscles, and tears. It’s a lot for anyone but especially so for Powell who has a wife and child on top of owning Nostos MMA in Somersworth, New Hampshire.

A New Lease on a UFC Contract

Back to back losses were disheartening but when Sean Shelby told Powell he was unsure whether or not he could find another fight for him, it was heartbreaking. Heartbreak in the sense of feeling, not in action because Powell didn’t allow this to be where his UFC journey ends.

“8 or 9 months ago Sean Shelby was saying he was trying to be straightforward with us and he didn’t know if he could get us another fight, go back to local leagues. [So] I called and I pleaded, ‘listen you can put me on the shelf for a year, give me a short notice fight, I’ll do anything. I’ll stay training, I’ll stay ready just don’t cut me, don’t let that even be a possibility. I belong on this stage and I have to prove myself so just hang onto me’.

So sure enough, people kept getting cut. I went and visited the [UFC] PI, they kept giving me tickets to go see fights. It was just this really weird situation where it was like they made it seem like it was going to fizzle out and I just didn’t allow it.”

Of course, this was a massive risk. The type of one that only someone with supreme belief within themselves would take. His life was put on hold, constantly training for a fight he didn’t have, on a roster he wasn’t quite sure he was still a part of.

“I feel like you can either fight the man or you can kind of do whatever they say. Unless you are Conor [McGregor] or somebody that’s actually turning heads there’s no reason to go against the grain. Just make them happy, make their jobs easy. My jobs to fight so accept short notice fights, train all the time, be ready and go.”

Short Notice Opportunity

Around three weeks ago, the announcement of his fight came to light. At UFC on Fox 30, he takes on Alvaro Herrera. Herrera is a competitor in a similar position as Powell. He holds a UFC record of 1-2, and currently lost two consecutive bouts. The options for both are limited if they wish to extend their stay on the roster.  A win seems to be the only one.

Powell is confident in the matchup. He believes Herrera represents a different level of competition as his last two opponents. While he asserted, everyone on the UFC roster is dangerous, he claimed this performance will show what his other performances haven’t.

“I think he’s not quite the level of the last guys I fought,” he told MMASucka. “I don’t think this guy is as good as either of [my previous UFC opponents]. Anybody has a punchers chance, he hits hard, he’s tall and rangy, and he’s a little wild. But I really don’t think he’s on the same level as those guys and I think I’m nothing but better now. I just got to get in there and get the job done. Fight smart but fight my fight and get it done.”

The risks we take define our lives. Devin Powell has done so, throughout the course of his mixed martial arts career. He is a man who refuses to give up on his himself and his dream. Such a person is to be admired and inspiration to be drawn from. At the very least, Devin Powell deserves your respect.

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