Nick Newell will return to competitors Friday in Hartford, Connecticut, almost one yr after he got here up brief in a bid to win a UFC contract.
Newell (14-2), a congenital amputee, will face Antonio Castillo Jr. (9-9) in a present promoted by CES MMA, a regional firm within the Northeast. The 33-year-old Newell, a former World Collection of Combating competitor, fought in July 2018 on Dana White’s Tuesday Evening Contender Collection, which awards UFC contracts to some winners. However Newell suffered a call loss to Alex Munoz.
That bout was extensively seen as Newell’s greatest — and maybe final — likelihood at making his solution to the UFC. Newell was born with a left arm that extends simply previous his elbow. In 2012, UFC president White stated he would by no means take into account signing Newell, however finally he gave him a shot within the DWTNCS.
Newell spoke to ESPN forward of his comeback battle, addressing whether or not he nonetheless believes the UFC is in his future.
ESPN: Why have not you fought because the loss to Munoz 11 months in the past?
Newell: First off, I wished to get higher. The wrestling sport has modified. I graduated from a wrestling school 10 years in the past, and I used to be a very good wrestler. I’ve at all times been a very good wrestler. I have been the higher wrestler in all of my fights. I’ve a black belt in jiu-jitsu and I have been targeted on hanging, and I type of obtained away from wrestling. I reignited my ardour for wrestling. In my final battle, I felt I had an opportunity at a submission and I used to be profitable the hanging, however I obtained out-grappled and managed, and that bothered me.
Second, my spouse was pregnant. It was our first baby, and I actually wished to verify I used to be there for her bodily and emotionally by that course of. As soon as my son was born, I wished to have a while to get to know him and revel in it, however I used to be coaching the entire time, getting higher the entire time.
“Should you take a look at my battle with Justin Gaethje, I did higher in opposition to him than two people who find themselves prime 10 on the planet.”
ESPN: How did this battle with the CES promotion come collectively?
Newell: CES is an enormous promotion within the Northeast. They’re actually the one promotion that will get the most effective guys to battle one another. I’ve cornered a number of fighters right here, and I like the way in which they conduct themselves. They have been having a present in my house state of Connecticut and reached out to see if I used to be out there, and I used to be.
I reached out to Bellator MMA after they had a present right here in February, and I do not know, I suppose they weren’t , which is okay. I am not gonna dwell on it. I have never heard something about a proposal from PFL. I will battle for individuals who need me to battle for them, and I will win.
ESPN: For almost 10 years, you have expressed your dream is to battle within the UFC. What’s the standing of that dream?
Newell: I talked with [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby after the DWTNCS battle, and so they preferred the way in which I fought. He advised me to go get a win, and that he thinks the ESPN broadcast is an efficient match for me. I’ve to exit and win fights. I can not go into the UFC on a loss. Hopefully, he was telling me the reality and I can win this battle and get into the UFC.
I’ve a very good document at 14-2. I’ve crushed a number of good opponents. I am hoping that this efficiency will get the largest reveals calling. I do know I am ok. I had a nasty night time again in July. That is the way in which the sport is. Nobody is on level each single day.
Nick Newell got here up brief final yr in his bid to earn a UFC contract. Daniel Martinez for ESPN
ESPN: What would you say to anybody who believes nearly all of your wins are in opposition to lesser competitors, and while you did battle at the next stage, you got here up brief?
Newell: I used to be purported to battle a man with a 17-5 document on Friday; now I am preventing a man with a document not nearly as good as a result of he was a short-notice alternative. Should you take a look at the information of opponents I’ve beat, a few of them have actually good information. However the one solution to battle UFC-caliber fighters is within the UFC, so you do not know except you are there. However I practice with UFC fighters and I do know I can hold. I’ve additionally beat harder opponents than different guys within the UFC. Should you take a look at my battle with Justin Gaethje [a loss in 2014], I did higher in opposition to him than two people who find themselves prime 10 on the planet.
ESPN: Did you study something by your expertise on DWTNCS, simply from the sense of how open persons are to the thought of you preventing on the most important platform?
Newell: Look, the one concern everybody has is that if I lose a battle, the world will cease turning and nobody will watch MMA ever once more. That will probably be dangerous for the game. Effectively, I misplaced a battle, after which the UFC went and had its largest pay-per-view of all time between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. So, it does not make a distinction. I’ve already confirmed I belong and I do not need to be handled any completely different. I simply need a possibility to win or lose. Clearly, I am assured I can win within the UFC, and it is not the tip of the world if I occur to lose.
I believe I confirmed them I’ve well-rounded abilities. I did not get the nod that night time, however I do not suppose it is a far stretch to suppose they’re going to attain out to me if I win this battle.