Second chances aren’t always easy to come by, and heavyweight Devin Cole knows this.
After achieving immediate success in the IFL, Cole went through a rough patch in his career which left him out of the spotlight, looking for one more opportunity.
As Cole himself admitted to MMAWeekly.com, “The IFL was definitely a big time (opportunity), in fact, I was offered a UFC contract right after I beat Travis Wiuff, in between the first and second seasons of the IFL, and I actually turned it down to stay with the IFL.
“The way that my career has been going, this is definitely a huge step in the right direction and the biggest step and opportunity I’ve had in a long, long time.”
The opportunity Cole is speaking of participating in the Jan. 7 Strikeforce Challengers event in Nashville against two time Olympian Daniel Cormier.
“I think it’s a huge shot,” stated Cole. “He’s a real tough opponent, but I think I’m a bad match-up for him. If I can go out there and put on a good show, hopefully they’ll have me back and I can move forward with my career.”
Cole admits that this time around, his head is in a much better place than it was when he first had a chance in a major promotion.
“I got my head back on straight,” he said. “I’m just being really positive, got re-focused and I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.”
This second chance isn’t without its price, as Cole knows why he’s being brought into face Cormier on live television.
“Bob Cook, the matchmaker, is also Daniel’s trainer, and so they’re bringing me in to lose. I’m not blind to that,” stated Cole. “Use me however you want, but I’m going to go out there and I’m going to win.
“I’m going to use this opportunity to make a statement and show everybody I’m back. I go out there and beat Daniel, it’s a whole new game.”
While on paper Cormier’s wrestling as an Olympian may trump Cole’s status as a former All-American wrestler in college, Cole feels he can still gain the advantage when it comes to grappling.
“He’s not that good at transitions yet, because he’s a relatively new fighter,” observed Cole. “Because of that, my wrestling is good enough to negate his, and I think I can go out there and stop his takedowns and make it a good night for me.”
He also feels that since Cormier hasn’t gone past the first round in many of his fights, stamina could be a determining factor in the fight.
“I know that we get into that deep water of the later rounds, it will be new to him,” said Cole. “No matter how hard he trains, he might not be ready to fight into that third, fourth, or fifth minute of the third round – that’s when I plan on imposing my will even more.”
A win over Cormier could go a long way towards establishing a home in Strikeforce for Cole. That stability could be just what he needs to finally take his career to the next level.
“I’d like to thank everybody that’s been helping me; my wife and my coaches,” he closed out. “Check us out on Jan. 7, it’s a free preview weekend, so even if you don’t have Showtime, you can watch it. It will be a good show and a great fight, so check us out.”