For welterweight Devin Smyth, being active was what he was most looking forward to in 2020, but following recovery from injury, he found the pickings to be slim. And then the novel coronavirus hit and made things even more difficult.
Though he was unable to be active at all through the first half of the year, Smyth kept his head down and kept focusing on returning to fighting whenever he could.
“I was just trying to find a fight,” Smyth told MMAWeekly.com. “I had just gotten off my loss at the Contender Series (in August, 2019). My shoulder surgery went well. I was getting ready to find a fight, but I was having a lot of trouble finding a fight, for whatever the case may be.
“Then the coronavirus hit, and that just made it even worse. I kept training and kept doing what I was doing because I knew somebody somewhere was going to have something for me.”
Though gyms were unavailable during lockdown, the situation wasn’t unfamiliar to Smyth, who has dealt with similar situations during his normal training anyway.
“Me and my teammates still got together,” said Smyth. “We already don’t really have a fulltime gym. We get into the gym sometimes when we can, other times we’re doing conditioning stuff or going to somebody’s house, or whatever the case may be.
“I think I can see when I’m sparring and rolling a lot of things I’m improving on. More importantly it’s my conditioning I’m impressed with; my whole career that’s been a struggle for me in the past, but that’s changed. I’ll definitely be in shape. I’m running every day and getting my conditioning in.”
On Friday in Sioux Falls, S.D., Smyth (9-2) will have his first bout in over a year when he faces Maycon Mendonca (9-4) in the 170-pound co-main event of LFA 90.
“He comes out a little bit tentative, a little patient, trying to figure something out,” Smyth said of Mendonca. “I think I need to be patient and do what I do best and take the fight where I think it needs to go.
“I plan on standing up a lot during this fight, but if something changes where I get uncomfortable on the feet then I’m more than comfortable to take the fight on the ground. But I am looking to showcase my striking skills.”
Though 2020 has been a hard year to predict so far for Smyth, he still has big plans for himself when it comes to the remainder of the year.
“I’m trying to get signed by the end of this year regardless,” said Smyth. “I need a couple of good showings. I definitely want to get signed by the end of 2020 and be ranked by early next year.”