Newell: I belong in the UFC
Nick Newell spoke recently with Dave Doyle for MMA Fighting about his return to competition. The fighter was born with a congenital amputation – his left arm stops just past the elbow. The sole loss of his 13-1 career was to Justin Gaethje in 2014, who has made a big, bloody splash in the UFC. Now Newell wants to prove he belongs among the sport’s elite.
However, historically, UFC president Dana White has expressed serious misgivings about Newell in the UFC.
“Never, no,” White said when asked about bringing Newell into the UFC. “It’s hard to fight here with two arms. It’s tough. There’s guys that we bring in that are considered top guys on The Ultimate Fighter that don’t ever really pan out and make it.”
However, White at one point gave Newell in the UFC a “maybe,” and further he said “never” about women in the UFC, and that didn’t happen, at all.
After retiring in 2015 at age 29, Newell opened up FAA-CT in West Haven, Connecticut and has just signed with Legacy Fighting Alliance.
“At the end of the day, I missed it,” he said. “I’m a competitive person, I enjoy the competition, it’s something that you can’t quite describe unless you’ve done it. But I wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons and now it feels right.”
“I was never able to think about my future. I never had time. I got my college degree, the fighting thing took off, and one thing happened after another. I bought a condo and it was just, it’s not like I was making millions of dollars right? I had to fight three times a year just to be able to pay my bills.
“I started thinking about my future, and meanwhile, my back goes out, my neck’s injured, I tore my MCL. I’ve never been one to half-ass anything. I didn’t want to be one of those guys left with nothing. I needed to take a second to breathe and to think about my life after fighting.”
“Getting the gym up and running and thriving helped me get back to the right place. I don’t have to fight for money now. I don’t have to worry about whether my bills will get paid. I can do this for my legacy, and I can do this because I love to compete.”
“The UFC isn’t going to bring on someone who’s been retired for two years, but the world’s changing. I know I’m one of the best fighters in the world. I know I could go in there and beat half the guys in the division now. I feel great, as good as I’ve ever felt. I’m just going to go out there and prove myself all over again, and this time, make it so there’s no doubt I belong.”
And in a pivot from the world of endless fighting, here Newell and his friend Dakota go over how to tie shoes one handed 🙂
Newell plans to fight early in 2018, after he returns from his honeymoon. Expect big things.