At one time Nick Newell might have gained notoriety for having lost his hand and a portion of his arm and still competing in MMA, but now Newell is becoming more known for his fighting ability, having picked up his eighth win in a row this past August via knockout over Adam David Mayes at XFC 19.
“I followed the game plan my coaches came up for me,” said Newell. “He was kind of predictable. I knew what he was going to do, so it didn’t really catch me as a surprise. He’s a great fighter, but my preparation leading up to the fight made me super-ready for it.
“It was good to get the knockout on a big stage and showcase the striking that I’ve really been working on.”
Once the XFC took a chance on Newell, he’s done nothing but rise to the occasion and will be rewarded for his efforts on Dec. 7 in Nashville, Tenn., where he takes on Eric Reynolds for the promotion’s vacant 155-pound championship.
“I think it’s the perfect next step,” said Newell. “I train hard, I’m 3-0 (in the XFC) and I’ve had two impressive finishes and one really good fight (that went the distance). So who else (but me)?
“I think I deserve it and I think I’m ready for it.”
Newell told MMAWeekly.com that while many people feel his match-up with Reynolds as a classic striker versus grappler fight, he doesn’t see it that way.
“A lot of people sleep on my stand-up and I think a lot of people sleep on his ground game too, but we’re just two well-rounded fighters going at it,” said Newell. “I’m not sleeping on anything he has. I’m ready for the best Eric Reynolds you’ve ever seen, and I’m going to be the best Nick Newell anybody’s ever seen.
“I think I’m a more versatile fighter. I have more ways of winning a fight wherever it goes – standing, on top, off my back, I’m good wherever it goes – me being comfortable in all situations is a big weapon I have.”
Looking back on his year, Newell feels he’s made great strides forward in establishing himself as someone to watch at lightweight. A title victory over Reynolds could only make it better and be something to truly build off in the coming year.
“I’ve come very far,” said Newell. “I had surgery at the beginning of the year and was out for maybe six weeks and it actually helped my body heal up, then I just came back with a fire and have been training non-stop ever since.
“I’m always working, trying to make myself better every time I fight because there are areas I still can improve in, because if you want to be the best in this sport, you’ve got to keep working at it all year round, or else someone else will. 2012 was a great year, but 2013 is definitely going to be my year. I’m going to establish myself as one of the best.”
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