DWCS 16 winner Devonte Smith has clear target for UFC debut: John Gunther

LAS VEGAS Devonte Smith made it easy on the judges at Tuesday’s Dana White’s Contender Series 16, quickly stopping Joe Lowry in the nights co-feature to earn a UFC contract.
Now, Smith (8-1) is looking to make it easy on the promotion’s matchmakers, as well. Asked about his plans after the first-round knockout over fellow lightweight Lowry (8-1), Smith didnt even need to hear a full sentence before blurting them out.John Gunther, Smith told reporters, including MMAjunkie, backstageat The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas.
If it seems an odd target, know theres some history between the two.
Both Gunther and Smith were undefeated coming into their Big Guns 22 encounter, in January 2017. It was Gunther who stayed that way, though, finishing Smith in the third round of the lightweight bout. Hed go on to get another win before joining fellow undefeated lightweight fighters on “The Ultimate Fighter 27.”
Gunther (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) lost to Mike Trizano in the “TUF 27” semifinals but went on to have a successful UFC debut last month, with a decision win over fellow “TUF 27” alum Allan Zuniga. Smith, in turn, finished another three opponents on the regional scene before making it to the Dana White’s Contender Series stage and emphatically stamping his octagon ticket.
Smith is now looking to avenge his lone career loss, and he believes hes made the proper adjustments to make sure the outcome is different this time around.
I gassed out when me and him fought, Smith said. You know, because he likes to lay on people. But I got with a better gym. Im with better people, more positive people. A lot of people in Cleveland, Ohio, they want to see that rematch, but I never wanted to fight him again on a local stage.
So now, on a more national stage, a bigger stage, the biggest MMA organization in the world. Its time to run that back. He told me he felt like a rag doll the first time we was going. Had his face all mushed up. I want to see how he’ll feel now, when its the new me.
If it seems Smith brings a high level of confidence into his UFC career, its because he does. Used to training with veterans and being put in uncomfortable positions, the 25-year-old says he was unfazed by Lowrys attempts to mean-mug him throughout fight week in Las Vegas and felt right at home once he threw the first few jabs.
Smith also brings in an all-finish record and an aim high or dont aim at all mentality as he takes his first octagon steps. But just because Smith has his sights at the top, he clarifies, it doesnt mean hes going to hastily make his way up there.
Im going to sit back, make plans, get Gunther out the way, Smith said. And after that, were going to make smart moves. Were going to make this money. This is what Im doing this for. And plus, myself and prove everybody wrong aint just for me. But smart moves. Its chess, not checkers. Youve got to make the right moves, do the right things, to get where youre going to get.
To hear from Smith, check out the video above.And for more onDana Whites Contender Series 16, check out theMMA Eventssection of the site.

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