Bellator Lightweight Devin Powell returns to action this Thursday night at Bellator 252, and we had the pleasure of speaking with him on the lead up to his bout with Manny Muro.
Bellator 252 goes down in Uncasville, Connecticut, United States, at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Devin Powell (10-4) makes his return to the Bellator cage for the first time in over a year.
After failing to pick up any real momentum inside the UFC, going (1-3), Powell, and the promotion parted ways. Since then, the American has competed on Bellator once.
The 32-year old then made his official Bellator debut in October of last year at Bellator 232, and a successful debut it was. Powell triumphantly submitted Marcus Surin in the second round via mounted guillotine. Powell will be looking to get back to his best and make it two wins on the bounce.
Manny Muro, who stands at (11-7) in his professional career, will be looking to build on his successful 2019, after suffering three back to back losses in 2018.
Muro has also been out of active competition for over a year. His last outing occurred at Bellator 232, where he made his second stint with the promotion, with a split decision victory over a tough Nick Newell.
How has life been for you under the global pandemic, tell us what you’ve been up to, and how you’ve been keeping yourself active and mentally sane?
Powell – “Life is been crazy during this pandemic. Not only am I an MMA fighter, more importantly, but I am also a father, husband and gym owner. I have gone breaks without fighting so this is all normal especially since after my last when I had to have knee surgery, but having to try and homeschool an 8-year-old, closing my gym for almost 3 full months and losing half my students which is putting crazy stress on me and my wife, who manages the gym. During the time my gym was closed, I had to stay busy rehabbing my knee, biking to the beach, in training with my wife and enjoying some time on the pond we live on with our daughter. As soon as we could open our gym back up we did.”
What was the emotion like after parting ways with the UFC, and how exciting was the prospect of joining Bellator, especially getting your opponent out of there on your debut and really starting your career off right in the promotion?
Powell – “It was very emotional parting with UFC. At all times I felt like I heard someone breathing down my neck. I never knew when I was going to fight before I went to Calgary, I went a full year with no contact with anyone and then all of a sudden I had a 30-day fight camp. It was tough because I always felt like I was so much better than I ever performed, but sometimes the stars just don’t align. Now that I am fighting with Bellator, I still don’t have a contract yet, but I believe I am better than ever. I am in a position where my gym is doing so well and I have so many great training partners and coaches that I travel to train with like Joe Lauzon, Jake Mainini and jay Mansfield. They were days before my first UFC fight when I showed up to the gym and nobody would be there. I would just shadowbox by myself or hit a bag which is not the way you should be getting ready for a professional fight on the big stage in the world.”
How did the offer from Scott Coker and Bellator come about, was it always a no brainer to join the promotion. A lot is talked about Bellator treating their athletes a lot better than the UFC, have you noticed any real differences so far between the two?
Powell – “I have enjoyed being with Bellator so far. I hope to earn a long-term contract after this fight. Scott Coker was nice to me after I won my last fight, but I haven’t had too much interaction with him which I totally understand. My goal after I was no longer fighting with UFC was to keep fighting in an organization that excited me. The UFC told me they had a lot of 155s and they liked me a lot, but to go get a couple of wins and they’d bring me back, but I had no intention fighting for a local
League. So when Bellator offered me a fight I was all in.”
Inside the UFC you had some tough decision loses that didn’t go your way and failed to find any real momentum, what did you put that down too, anything in particular you’ve worked on minimise that risk of dropping a decision?
Powell – “I honestly just think that I am a better fighter now. I think my last showcase in the UFC was the best version of myself and I think I won the first round in Argentina, and sadly I suffered an eye injury early in the second round. The injury caused me to go completely blind in my right eye for the remainder of the fight. I spent most of the night in the
hospital. It was called a hyphema, basically a bruise inside the eyeball which completely obstructed my vision. Fighters don’t like acting look anything bothers them, but when I lost vision in my eye it definitely messed with me a lot. I definitely wasn’t the fighter I was in the first round after that injury. It still eats at me that I didn’t fight the same way I did in the first round but it is what it is. I just wish I had the last performance where I didn’t have an injury like that because that was the best version of Devin to enter that cage. But I’m even better now.”
Looking at that Bellator Lightweight Division, it’s full of killers. Is there any matchup in the division that really excites you and an athlete you’d like to share the cage with after you pick up 1/2 more victories?
Powell – “I really don’t have any names in mind. The guy I am fighting November 12th has a win on the same night that I fought. He was on the main card that time, so I wanted a chance to fight him and hopefully get a shot on the main card as well but that’s not happening. So beating him will put me one shot closer to a real contract and a real main card slot.”
How much notice have you had ahead of your scheduled bout with Muro and how was preparation been on the lead up to this fight, what can we expect to see from Devin Powell?
Powell – “This was a little over a four-week fight camp although I have been training since I got out of knee surgery in January.”
Over the past couple of years, you’ve not been as active to previous years. Is long periods out of conception something you worry about hindering your performance?
Powell – “I feel like I am always getting better during these big breaks. It makes it hard to accept the little pay-checks for fighting when you’re usually out because of serious injuries were just getting ghosted by promotions.”
What’s your views on Muro as an opponent, is there any strengths or weaknesses you and your coaches have seen?
Powell – “Manny is a very tough, durable and game opponent. If you’re not ready to go 15 minutes hard, you’re going to have a rough night. That is 100% his best attribute. If you show up for a 15-minute war with your tool sharpened, I believe he is beatable and that is going to be the way I get it done.”
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