For World Series of Fighting headliner Devin Cole, he's been searching for a second chance ever since a fateful night in 2008 landed him in jail, and he believes he's finally getting new life in his next fight.
Cole was charged four years ago with some pretty serious felony sex crimes, and while he ultimately was only convicted of a misdemeanor, the black mark of that headline still haunts him to this day.
The former Strikeforce heavyweight was originally in line to face Travis Browne at UFC on Fox 4 when Browne's original opponent, Ben Rothwell, suffered an injury. Unfortunately, Cole's past caught up to him because, ultimately, UFC officials decided to yank the fight altogether and not bring him into the organization because of the past accusations.
So when the call came in from the World Series of Fighting that they not only wanted him to fight on their debut card, but compete in the main event against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, it felt like a true gift and a way for him to finally move on to the next stage of his career.
It wasn't easy up to that point, however. Cole was constantly looking at his record and seeing past opponents already in the UFC, while he was toiling away on the sidelines awaiting a call from a major promotion.
“I try to stay positive; you have to. It is hard at times, when you see these people having success that you have wins over, and they're getting their chances and winning in the UFC, and I'm not getting that chance. It's hard to stay positive, but I really believe that if it's going to happen, it's going to happen. I've just got to keep working, and if it doesn't happen, then it wasn't meant to be,” Cole told MMAWeekly Radio.
Cole was competing in Strikeforce, but following the last fight on his contract and the rest of the division moving over to the UFC, he was left behind and not given a new deal. It was a tough pill to swallow and it forced him to miss out on the valuable training he needed to stay competitive so hopefully one day he would receive that call.
“It's been real tough. When I was with Strikeforce, I actually got to focus more on training than working, but since I haven't fought since December I've been having to work a lot, and it's a catch-22. To be at the caliber you need to be to get that phone call, you need to train, but then again in order to support your family you need to work,” said Cole.
The tough run came to an end when Cole got the call from World Series of Fighting. He immediately hit the gym and started getting ready for the golden opportunity he had so desperately been waiting for.
“I'm really happy for it. I've been sitting around for years looking for fights, and the UFC thing fell through, and I'm so pumped for this. This promotion has treated me so good, and hopefully this first show goes off good,” Cole stated.
Now the onus is all back on Cole to go out and perform and show the world that he belongs among the elite heavyweights in MMA. A win over Andrei Arlovski would go a long way to proving that, and Cole knows this is his chance to show everybody what he's all about.
“This is going to get me to that point where I have people talking about me and will be able to be in the limelight. Get those breaks that I need,” said Cole.
“This is my chance to prove it. I think it's my time, and now I need to step up and prove it.”
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