A defeated Smith suffered an Achilles injury, which happened during a training session when Smith was backing up to avoid a head kick.
“I feel as a fighter we have really high pain tolerance,” Smith said to MMA Junkie. “A lot of things that may hurt, whether it’s broken bones or a torn Achilles, you can’t really tell. I was sparring against my dude Yusuff and he threw a flying knee to a head kick. I just backed up with the same back step that I’ve done a million times. It felt like somebody bumped into me. When I blocked it, it felt like somebody bumped into me because it just gave out. I’m like, ‘Ooh. I feel like I just sprained my ankle or something.’ I’m asking people to take my gloves off to let me rub it – let me hold myself. Man, I was like, ‘This is some pain.’ It wasn’t too bad. It was like five minutes. Then, the next five minutes was like me breathing myself down. I’m like, ‘All right, I’m cool.’ I stand up and I just wiggle down like, ‘Oops, hold on. Something is wrong.'”
Smith has since gotten surgery to repair the Achilles injury and is now on the road to recovery.
The fighter says that in order to fully recover from the injury and subsequent surgery, it will take anywhere from eight months to a year before he can return.
“I believe eight months to a year,” Smith said. “They said the longer you wait, the better it is. I can come back 110 percent. I hear a lot of stories and had a lot of people hit me up saying they had the same situation happen to them when their Achilles tore. They came back and they’re great. They just tell me to take my time. That’s all I hear from other athletes – just to take my time. That’s all I’ve been doing. I’m looking to come back when my Achilles says, ‘Hey Devonte, you’re 110 percent.’ Like, ‘All right, cool.’ I’ll go do my thing.”
Whether the recovery takes eight month or a year, it looks like Smith won’t be competing until 2021 at the earliest.