hit tracker Devonte Smith details long road to recovery – FIGHTPASS
May 7, 2021

Devonte Smith details long road to recovery

 

It has been a long road back for Devonte Smith, but he believes it was the right one.

The most recent time he competed in the cage was UFC 241 in August 2019. It was supposed to be his moment. The oddsmakers had him as a 10-to-1 favorite against relative-unknown debutant Khama Worthy. However, when the fight played out, Worthy upset Smith with a first-round TKO.

To make matters worse, Smith tore his Achilles tendon shortly after the fight during a training session. His return fight was significantly delayed as he recovered from the damage, which included re-learning to walk.

“It was just irritating not being able to do what I normally do, which is walk,” Smith recently told MMA Junkie. “It was strange learning how to walk again. You look at movies and you see or hear about accidents where people be walking on (crutches). You can’t see yourself as that being you until, or if, that actually happens. Learning to walk again, I mean, my right calf was huge because I was hopping on one leg for two or three months. After that, it was healing up, but it was weird. It was very weird. It was a lot of stuff to deal with that came with the rehab.”

Smith refused to put pressure on himself. Fighting wasn’t on his mind – just recovery. As the weeks and months rolled along, Smith stayed diligent with his rehab and eventually was cleared.

“I’m 110 percent (now),” Smith said. “I actually waited the whole year, just so I can be 100 percent – not only physically, but mentally, too. I didn’t want to get back in here second-guessing myself, hesitating. That was a serious injury, and I actually needed to sit down or it wasn’t going to heal correctly or right.

“Now, when I spar people, sometimes I forget I had an Achilles injury. It doesn’t really come to mind. It was the right decision because look where I am now.”

At UFC Fight Night 184 on Saturday, Smith will return to the cage to take on Justin Jaynes, a short-notice replacement for Alex da Silva. The switch of opponents is what Smith has mentally prepared for. He credits the Worthy loss with teaching him the tough lesson of always staying prepared, no matter the circumstances.

“If it’s a family member, friend, or whoever, they signed the contract. I’ve got to treat them all the same (and) not let that friendship stuff happen again. (I’m) also learning that things can switch up from time to time, especially because of this corona thing. Anything can happen.”

UFC Fight Night 184 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streams on ESPN+.

To hear the full interview with Smith, check out the video below.