Devon Smith calls La Ronge, SK home, and thought he’d called it a career after his last fight in April 2017. But after a few months off, the siren song of the gym was too loud to ignore and a chance to fight Battleford’s Tyler Weran in Saskatoon this Friday sealed the deal on his return.
“I know I’m capable of more, and there’s still things I have to prove to myself,” said Smith. “It’s not so much any more trying to prove things to other people.”
Smith started training Muay Thai at age 19, and fought overseas several times. The 6’5” Weran will be the tallest opponent Smith has ever faced and he’s hoping a new style of training will help him close the gap.
“Being at MMAC (Saskatoon’s Modern Martial Arts Center) they do Bang Muay Thai, which is a lot different than the traditional Muay Thai I’m used to,” said Smith. “So it’s helped me work a lot more on angles as I fight, whereas traditional Muay Thai is more linear, so I think it’s really helped me in that way and I’m excited to try it out.”
Weran has a kickboxing background, with some grappling training too – similar to Smith’s own history. While he feels like he’s ready for anything, Smith won’t likely be trying for takedowns – and doesn’t think his opponent will either – but he’ll be ready in case he does.
“It’s well known Jiu JItsu has been my weakness, so I’m predominantly working on that, I focus on it a lot, but I’m not looking to take the fight there. I just want to be prepared in the event that it goes there.”
In fact, Smith is optimistic Weran will give him what’s proved to be elusive thus far in his fighting career: a toe-to-toe war.
“I haven’t had that experience…any time it gets to a heated exchange, I’ll be winning the exchange, then next thing I know it’s a ground fight,” lamented Smith. “I don’t think that’s going to be a factor with Tyler.”
Fighting so close to home can prove daunting for some fighters, but Smith is eager to embrace his friends and family cheering him on, and doesn’t think he’ll feel any added pressure.
“In terms of experience, I’ll hopefully be able to stay a little more level-headed and that really helps with the gas tank. This will be – pro and amateur combined – my 18th fight versus his 5th, so I’m used to it – there’s no adrenaline rush.”