Getting to Know Nick Newell of WSOF: Standing at 5-foot-10, “Notorious” Nick Newell is everything but your average fighter. He is currently competing in the World Series of Fighting’s lightweight division and holds an undefeated record of 11-0. Inspiring, driven, and dedicated are just three of many words that describe this humble fighter whom, judging by his perfect record, one would never guess is fighting with one arm. Despite being born with congenital amputation, his unblemished professional mixed martial arts record is a result of his hard work and ability to not let his differences get in the way of his dreams. At age 28, he has already accomplished more than many fighters would and proven to climb as a dominate force in the forthcoming years. Newell was earlier this year nominated as the “Breakthrough Fighter of the Year” at the 2014 Fighters Only World MMA Awards. Combat Lifestyle had the pleasure of chatting with Nick as he opened up about more than just fighting. He discussed everything from his unique special talent, ninja turtles, WWE, charity work, to his favorite animal.
Coming out of his most recent win on December 7, 2013 against Sabah Fadai, at World Series of Fighting(WSOF) 7, Newell reminisced on how he got his start in MMA. “I’ve had a lifelong interest in martial arts. When I was young, I was a fan of ninja turtles and pro wrestling. That’s what I wanted to be and when I got older, it didn’t change much but it became more practical.” He then recalled the first person he told, which was his mother. “The first person I spoke to was my mom. I’m the closest with her so I told her first. I said, ‘I’m going to start fighting’ and she said, ‘you’re crazy’(laughs). Even growing up, she let me do my own thing. As long as I’m working hard at it and doing it right she supports me. Of course they’d rather have me be a doctor or a lawyer, but this is what I want to do and what I love so they always have my back.” He then elaborated on his wrestling background and his favorite pro wrestlers. “I was a wrestler first. I was the captain of my college and All-State team. After I was done, I transitioned into MMA. When it comes to pro wrestling, Curt Hawkins was my roommate in college so he’s no doubt my favorite wrestler. I’m also a big fan of CM Punk and Zack Ryder.”
Despite his current success in MMA, he was successful at other sports as well, which he revealed to Combat Lifestyle. “Growing up, I played baseball and soccer. I was better at baseball and made all-star in baseball. My first year was terrible though, but then I got better after that. If you know me, you know to not get anything past me. If I’m not a natural at it, I’m willing to work that much harder.” We then asked Newell about his hobbies and downtime. “Fighting is one of my hobbies and it happens to be my job, too. I play a lot of Nintendo 64,” He continued to discuss his favorite games to play on the console. “I always switch it up but I’d say GoldenEye or Mario Kart.” Nick then spoke about his friends which he has known since childhood. “One thing that always helps me is I have a solid group of core friends. I’ve had the same group since first grade. We’re into different things and are different people; they’re not fighters and have regular jobs, but we’ve all stuck by each other and are supportive of one another. I like to spend time with them and I like to relax.”
The lightweight fighter was asked if he has any special talents, which he then disclosed what he feels he is better at than fighting. “I’m a phenomenal air hockey player and also excel at Connect Four.” He continued to reveal his success in the classic strategic board game. “No one has beaten me, ever. I would say I’m world-class at it. I actually was thinking about entering a tournament because that’s how good I am. I lose one game out of every one hundred that I play,” Nick continued to summarize his skills in a lighthearted manner. “No one can beat me. I’m a better Connect Four player than I am a fighter.” He then confidently reassured to CombatLifestyle that he is ranked among the elites of the game, when asked if he thinks he’s the nation’s best. “I think I’m one of the best players in the world.”
Aside from his passions, “Notorious” Nick Newell was then asked about his favorite food and animal, in which he gave an enthusiastic response. “The number one best food in the world is pizza.” He said, without hesitation. “Especially being in Connecticut, it has best pizza in the world. I’m a bit of a pizza snob so it’s good no matter what. It’s definitely my favorite food but other than that, I’m a big fan of chicken burritos.” A quick glance at the lightweight fighter’s social media outlets and one may speculate about his favorite animal, which he is known to post photos of. Newell loves cats and is the proud owner of two cats: Gober and Stripey. Furthermore, he is also proud of the charity work he is associated with. When asked about his involvement in it, he responded, “My main charity is the Lucky Fin Project.” He then elaborated about the non-profit organization. “It’s basically a charity to help raise awareness for kids that have limb differences, similar to mine.” Nick stated that it is a worldwide charity.
Newell shared a few of his upcoming goals for his career, which involve self-improvement. “My goal is just to push it as far as I can. I just want to take it one fight at a time and just see how far I can go with this.” He then continued, “No matter what I accomplish, it will never be enough for me. I will always want to achieve more, it’s just the type of person I am. I’ll never be content with anything I accomplish; basically my goal is to work with everything I can and fight with everything I got.” He continued to explain modestly, and was very focused. “My goal is to be the best I can be. I know I am and will be the top fighter in the world. It’s all about just pushing myself and challenging myself every day.” Moreover, his main priority is to continue challenging himself, when asked whether he feels he has to prove anything to anyone. “I’m just naturally motivated. I don’t feel like I have to prove anything. I feel like everything I have to prove, I’ve proven, and now the only person I’m doing this for is myself because I have high standards.”
Nick states he trains out of both Connecticut and Massachusetts. While he was unsure who his next opponent would be when was interviewed back in February, he clued us in on a potential one. “I’m not sure who my next opponent is or when’s my next fight. A lot of people have been throwing around Justin Gaethje as a possible next opponent, though nothing is set. I feel if he is, that’s great. I’d be excited to fight someone as good as him. If he’s not, I feel it’s only a matter of time before we fight each other. He’s a fighter and I have a lot of respect for him. I’m friends with him, too, and because of that, it would be an honor to fight Justin.” Newell was granted his wish when it was announced his upcoming opponent, Justin Gaethje, was been confirmed by the promotion for WSOF 11. Nick is slated to fight lightweight title holder Gaethje tomorrow night in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The lightweight fighter concluded the interview by acknowledging and thanking all his training partners and sponsors who make it all possible for him. He then stated he is very interactive on social media and tries his best to respond to everyone, so encourages you to follow him.
Please check out all the photos below:
You can purchase Nick’s walkout shirt or hat here: