Cory Devela couldn’t resist returning to mixed martial arts.
Devela, who graduated from Sumner High School in 2002, went 8-5 in MMA before he retired in 2010. The 29-year-old will return to the cage Saturday night at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma to face Everett’s Byron Sutton.
Devela said he took time away three years ago for myriad reasons.
“I had some shoulder problems, so I wanted to take some time to heal up,” he said. “I also took a job overseas as a military contractor (in Afghanistan). While I was over there, I started taking Jiu-Jitsu classes. It was something different, and I enjoyed it. All I did in Afghanistan when I was off work was lift weights and Jiu-Jitsu.”
Once he returned to the United States, Devela couldn’t get the thought of returning to the cage out of his mind.
“You just can’t give up this sport,” he said. “It gets into your blood, and it is who you are.”
The past two months, Devela has spent all of his spare time at Victory Athletics in Lakewood, training under former UFC fighter Dennis Hallman.
“I have been physically beating the heck out of myself for the past month with my training,” Devela said. “Having three years off, it kind of feels like I took a step backward. I have to start somewhere and am looking forward to knocking off the ring rust.”
Devela placed fifth at the Mat Classic state wrestling championships when he was in high school.
“I have always been a great wrestler but needed to strengthen my submission holds,” he said. “I feel like I have picked it up in that aspect. Victory Athletics is a fantastic facility and is a great place to train.”
Devela said he’s excited to fight at the Emerald Queen Casino.
“I will have a whole bunch of family members and friends coming to see my fight,” he said. “I’m feeling strong and definitely want to perform well. I want to continue fighting in the future and do as much as a I can in this sport.”