Back in the win column at Bellator 232 with an impressive technical submission, Devin Powell is only interested in big opportunities, on the big stage, at this point in his career.
Uncasville, CT — Devin Powell entered his Bellator MMA debut Saturday night at Bellator 232 in Uncasville, Connecticut off a UFC run that did not quite go according to plan. 1-3 in that promotion, Powell, who runs his own gym (Nostos MMA) and trains with the likes of Joe Lauzon, was determined to stay on a big stage.
That meant getting a much needed win, and he did just that against Marcus Surin on Saturday. It was a fight that had Powell’s jiu-jitsu skills on display, with a couple of interesting twists along the way.
One of those twists came when it appeared Surin was tapping to a guillotine, only for the fight to go on.
“I was told that he was tapping to the guillotine. But Joe Lauzon didn’t want to tell me, because he didn’t want me to get emotional I guess,” Powell revealed to reporters including Cageside Press after the fight. “I’m just squeezing for dear life. You have bread and butter chokes that everybody feels good about. I had no clue. I just thought I had him, it was deep, and he was just super tough. But if he tapped, then it is what it is.”
“Second round, I literally watched somebody finish a fight like that in the PFL. And I was like ‘I really want to hit this.’ I’d never done that, even in a jiu-jitsu class. Snapping that down, the rear-naked style guillotine, I think that’s what it was.” It felt super-deep, Powell added. He kept squeezing. But the round ended — only for Surin to suddenly start wrestling the ref.
“The round ended, then he’s wrestling the ref. Like ‘oh wait, you did it! He is out.'” A bit of a crazy finish. Powell jokingly added that ref Kevin MacDonald’s takedown defense was “solid.”
Powell’s win comes on a big stage, something he insists upon at this point in his career. Otherwise, staying in the game isn’t worth it.
“I’ve never felt like I didn’t belong on the world’s biggest stage. I train with the best guys. Going over to [Joe Lauzon’s] each week, training with those guys, I couldn’t get better training partners.” Training at that level told Powell that “that’s where I belong. Whether it’s here, in the UFC, I believe that if I’m going to compete at this stage of my life, then it should be on a big platform. I know I’m good enough to do it. I got the opportunity here, against a really good guy. And I think that guy could out-wrestle and beat guys in the UFC.”
“I’m 31, I’ve been fighting over 10 years now. I love this sport, I don’t have to do it,” Powell continued. “I own a gym, I have a family. But I love fighting. And if it’s not going to be here, or in the UFC or ONE, then it doesn’t excite me enough to take so much time from my family and my gym. I want big opportunities if I’m going to do it at all. And I think I’ve proved myself again.”
Powell added that he’d never been put away, and never even been in trouble. His four losses have all been decisions. “I think this is where I belong.”
His management, Powell , admitted, told him to get a couple of wins on the regional scene, in the hopes of the UFC bringing him back. But Powell wanted a bigger fight, and opted for Bellator. “I could easily get easy fights, but I wanted this opportunity.”
Taking off the gloves and retiring, added Powell, was the plan if he had lost. He didn’t. The win over Marcus Surin was his first since July 2018, at UFC Calgary. It should also hopefully lead to a longer-term deal with Bellator, as Powell revealed his current contract status was “non-existent.”
Watch the full Bellator 232 post-fight press scrum with Devin Powell above!