Since picking up a submission win over Marcus Surin at Bellator 232 in October of 2019, lightweight Devin Powell has been through a series of events that have seen him sit on the shelf for over a year.
And while it would be easy for Powell to be down on the situation, he’s continued forward and has worked his way back, both in his fight career and businesses outside of it.
“After my last fight I tore my meniscus, so I had to get knee surgery after that fight, so I had to recover from that,” Powell told MMAWeekly.com. “I was hoping to fight once I got cleared, but then coronavirus got the in the way of that.
“I had a lot of emotions going on. Being an academy owner we had to shut down for two and a half months, lost 50-percent of our students, so that whole period was brutal. We’ve been coming back from that now, and that’s been really nice, but that was the heaviest hit we took.”
Though he had some setbacks in the first part of the year, Powell was able step things up in the second half and improve his game.
“One thing I added that I hadn’t really had honestly for several years of my career was a legitimate striking coach,” said Powell.
“I’ve worked with a lot of different people, but it’s just here and there. I would get mitts from whomever. I’d get mitts from my teammates, mitts from my wife; but now I’ve been working every week with Jake Mainini for the last six months. That’s definitely the biggest thing I’ve improved on.”
On Thursday in Uncasville, Conn., Powell (10-4) will finally make his return to face Manny Muro (10-6) in a preliminary 155-pound bout at Bellator 252.
“I think I have to be ready to go 15 hard minutes,” Powell said. “I don’t have to do anything flashy; I have to be a well-rounded fighter that controls effectively. It’s just a very simple game plan and if I stick to it I should get my hand raised.”
For Powell a win on November 12 isn’t enough, as he’d like to secure a long term deal that will set the stage for a better year for his career in 2021.
“(Bellator) told me I was definitely on their radar for when things went back to normal because of Coronavirus when they could actually get some fighters on contract,” said Powell. “They have a lot of fighters that got really backed up and it took me a while to even get a chance to fight for them at all. So we’ve got to do our job this fight and it should be undeniable.”