After spending over a year off recovering from a gruesome injury, lightweight Devin Powell finally returned to action this past July with a first round TKO win over Alvaro Herrera at UFC on FOX 30.
The victory over Herrera was not only big for Powell’s recovery, but also helped finally get him in the win column for the UFC following two straight losses.
“Having that much time off was nerve-wracking in its own, but I had worked so hard to get that fight and that opportunity,” Powell told MMAWeekly.com. “I wanted to prove I could do better, and that’s what I was able to do. I knew I belonged there, but just needed a good showing, and I had it.
“I didn’t feel any ring rust. I felt normal walking out. I felt right in the moment. It was a little bit rushed and chaotic (at the venue), but in the fight game you get a lot of variables that you can’t control, so you focus on what you’re good at – and that’s the fight – and I felt fine.”
For Powell, coming off an injury like the one he had, and having to wait to finally get a bout, made it all the better to get out there and pull off such an impressive victory.
“I went through a lot of adversity,” said Powell. “I ruptured my testicle, and I had surgery and had a 13-month layoff. I wasn’t sure I had a job with the UFC; I kept begging for fights and couldn’t land any. They said they didn’t have space for me in the division, but I kept asking (for a bout) and training.”
On November 17 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Powell (9-3) will have his second bout back from injury when he faces Jesus Pinedo (15-4-1) in a 155-pound preliminary bout at UFC Fight Night 140.
“I think I’ve just got to fight smart,” Powell said. “(Pinedo is) very aggressive, so I think people kind of move back and they fold and they get knocked down, and he gets them with ground ‘n’ pound. He’s going to have to be careful rushing in because he’ll get caught with something.
“He’s good everywhere and he’s aggressive, and when he catches people he stays aggressive. I feel a lot better than the guys he’s fought. I’ve got to use all my tools and get the job done.”
Now that he’s back to fighting, Powell is just going to take things as they come. When it comes to a goal, the thing he wants most is to get his record in the UFC over .500 and to start making moves in the lightweight division.
“Really it’s fight by fight for me,” said Powell. “It was a blessing getting that last fight, and now that I had it and got a win, I got another fight that came up pretty quick, so I’m going to enjoy this. In the off time after the fight I’ll enjoy the holidays and figure out what’s next.
“But number one is getting my hand raised. It’s crucial that I get the win in this fight. I’m 1-2, and being 2-2 rather than 1-3 in the UFC is huge; so all I can think about is getting my hand raised in there.”