I need some powerlifters opinions.

I haven't even had one powerlifting meet under my belt. Once was training for one and cut my hand so I decided to cut bodyfat, and never made the opportunity to do it again.

Currently 5'8" 228 lbs 26.8% bodyfat. I was up to 236 about 8 weeks ago and my strongest then, pretty flat since then since my calories have been under maintenance. lifts, bench 345x5, squat 415x5, deadlift 445x3, reverse band box squat 495x3 all beltless and without wrist wraps on bench.

Really kind of wanted to work towards a 2x bw squat and 3x bw S/DL, or more importantly even hitting 400 bench and 600 S/DL at any weight. I was thinking it would be fun to compete somewhere between 198, 220, or 242 weight classes at any given time.

The bodyfat seems to be a bit excessive, but every time I cut I feel too weak to continue, I have done long term cuts and maintained a lot of strength, and fast ones but in the end as I get smaller I still end up feeling weak and gain more weight. I mean I imagine if at some point my body is most competitive heavier at like 264 and that is primary goal I will go with what works for me. But at this point never competing I hate to carry excess weight if it is unnecessary and isn't even a large portion lean body mass.

I know many bodybuilders try to keep the fat gain to a minimum and cut more often to stay at a certain range. But do I really honestly need to do this? I can't decide which way to go with this. I mean if I cut now and then bulk I will obviously be bulking from a weaker starting point. If I bulk first at least I could break some records, but then cutting afterwards could be an issue.

I also get some advice where they say not to worry about my main lifts and do more cardio and circuit based routines and get below 20% in a short time period like 2 months. I know that would hurt my lifts, but at the same time help to keep me from hurting myself while on a deficit. But then I imagine most of the bulk would be getting back the strength that I lost not getting actually stronger, I mean in the end it will net a positive in some way or another.

Feel free to ask questions about my goals or whatever to give me decent advice. Not sure what's best right now.