July 28, 2018: The day Devin Powell’s dream came true.
After years of training, fighting, and rising through the ranks, Powell finally pulled out a UFC win—and he did so in spectacular fashion.
Entering the bout, the Maine native had dropped his UFC debut and his sophomore promotional appearance. It was after his second loss Powell received the words no fighter ever wants to hear: “You’ve been cut.”
The UFC informed Powell’s management his promotional tenure was over. His contract was to be terminated in the following days.
Less than a week later, however, the UFC made a rare decision—they would go back on their word. Powell would be offered one more fight: a short-notice bout against Alvaro Herrera in Calgary.
In come-from-behind fashion, Powell defeated Herrera via body shots in Round 1.
“It’s something I knew I was capable of, but no matter what, it’s not somebody’s night each time you fight,” Powell said in an interview with FloCombat. “There’s always a possibility that you go out there and lose your job.
“I told everybody that I belonged, and I fought so hard to get that last shot. I begged the UFC and [matchmaker] Sean Shelby and said I’d be better. I’m just super thankful it panned out and I got the job done.”
The win over Herrera wasn’t just a career-saver; it secured Powell’s monetary future for the time being.
“Financially it’s huge. Career-wise it’s huge,” Powell said. Now I just have to prove that that one was exactly what I said it was: I belong, and it wasn’t a fluke.”
Saturday, Nov. 17, at UFC Fight Night 140 in Argentina, Powell has the change to relive his dream—this time against debuting fighter Jesus Pinedo.
In order to advance his ever-evolving mixed martial arts game, Powell made some serious changes in his preparation for the bout in Buenos Aires, including shifting a portion of his training to a larger gym and signing on with a new manager, Tyson Chartier of Top Game Management.
“[I’ve been] training with all of the best guys in the Northeast on Saturday’s at Lauzon’s [MMA],” Powell said. “It’s just an unbelievable group of fighters. Pretty much everyone that’s in the UFC from the Northeast goes there.
“Other guys come down—[Donald] Cerrone, Mickey Gall, [Joe] Schilling were all down there for a little while. We just have a great group there. Calvin Kattar, Rob Font, Joe Lauzon, Kyle Bochniak, Mike Rodriguez, Andre Soukhamthath, me, and all of the local guys who are phenomenal fighters as well. There are a lot of great bodies.”
Powell was originally scheduled to fight Claudio Puelles, but an injury forced the Peruvian out of the bout weeks prior. The swap of Peruvians proved miniscule for Powell’s preparation.
“They’re both dangerous,” Powell said. “He’s got a lot of fights and is young and hungry. I can’t imagine having 20-plus fights at age 22. It’s unreal. He’s going to be dangerous, but I’m going to be more dangerous.
“The guys he’s fought [are] not anything like me. I’m excited to get in there and go up against him.”
With his opponent fighting out of Peru, Powell knows the possibility of a hostile environment is high. The 30-year-old fighter is not fazed.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Powell said. “I fought in Canada and neither of us were really hometowners. Everyone will like me by the end with my performance. If not, I’ll get my money and I’ll run.”
How does the 6’0” featherweight see the fight ending? Not on the judges’ scorecards—that’s for sure.
“I think I’m going to drop him, and I think I’m going to finish him,” Powell said. “Whether it be with strikes or the choke, I’m going to seal the deal.”