Godfather Rashad Evans Helped LFA 177’s Devin Smyth Hit Reset

Photo courtesy of Devin Smyth on IG (@devinsmythmma)

Devin Smyth had all the makings of a top prospect for big promotions. 25-years old with a 9-1 record and a shot on the Contender Series – everything looked up for him. However, after the fight didn’t go his way and neither did his subsequent LFA debut, things started to fall apart for the Michigan-born Smyth.

“After I lost my debut with LFA – man, I went to a bad place. It was my first time dropping two fights in a row. I started to doubt myself, started to think about if this is not what I wanted to do for a living,” Smyth revealed. “I got involved with some wrong people, stopped training, and ended up in a real bad situation.”

After wasting time at home, he finally realized that he needed a change and needed it badly. He immediately got on the phone with his Godfather and future UFC light heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans, and told him that he was coming down to Florida and not just for a visit.

“I called Rashad and it was sort of like an epiphany-type moment. I said ‘yo, I got to come down there and let’s do it – because the way I’m heading right now isn’t going to work out for me,” he said. “It was like a year off. A year just doing stupid stuff… And the day I got down to Florida, I haven’t stopped training since.”

Some of the changes he saw were do to his renewed focus and being around the right people. Rashad has continued to be a huge influence on his life, as he has every step of the way. However, the change in the physical environment was huge for him as well.

“I love my people in Michigan, but I hate Michigan,” Smyth said with a laugh. “It’s just not for me. It’s cold eight months out of the year. And that’s the thing with me, I wasn’t trying to go out and run when there’s three inches of snow on the ground.”

Smyth then was tasked with showing the world what those changes looked like in the cage. He was offered another fight with LFA, a headliner in Niagara Falls, New York – the area of which Rashad is originally from. The pressure was huge and it was time to put up or shut up.

“It was unbelievable. The whole time before that fight I was so nervous – it’s been such a long time and now I’m the main event and for LFA,” he said. “I walked in there and I knew I had worked harder than I ever have before… After training with the best of the best and knowing that I’m not going to get tired – that I’m going to be able to fight for real – it just gave me a sort of confidence. When I stepped in the cage, I just kept telling myself ‘Devin, go be great.”

Great is what he was. In just 51 seconds, he dispatched of top prospect Jonathan Piersma with a spinning hook kick and showed just why everybody had been high on him in the first place.

Now he’s parlayed that win into another headliner, again in Niagara Falls. This time the LFA welterweight title will be on the line. The stakes may be higher, but the mentality is no different for Smyth, who is back on the right track.

“I’ve got to finish. I don’t know when it’s going to come or how it’s going to come, but I’m going to get it,” he said. “I’m going to find that chin.”

Devin Smyth fights Shamidkhan Magomedov as the main event of LFA 177 this Friday. The main card begins at 9pm EST on UFC Fight Pass.