Nick Newell has had to deal with people telling him he can’t do things his entire life. Now, the congenital amputee is hearing the reverse — that his limb difference is actually helping him as an MMA fighter.
Newell, who was born without a fully formed left arm, has won two straight bouts for World Series of Fighting by first-round guillotine choke submission. Those results helped him earn his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from Andrew Calandrelli last month. They have also brought out detractors who are claiming the fact that his left arm ends just below his elbow has something to do with the effectiveness of the maneuver.
Newell says that’s silly.
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“It has nothing to do with my arm or anything like that,” he told FOX Sports. “I just always know what the right position is. It’s really hard to get out of when I get in that position.”
The undefeated Newell (11-0) traces his guillotine’s origins back to his days as a high school and college wrestler. He was always a front headlock guy, he said. It has led to an advanced technique for guillotines. He finished Sabah Fadai with a standing guillotine in December and Keon Caldwell with one on the ground from almost top position last August. Newell said he has “more than 100” variations of it.
“It’s not an advantage,” Newell said of his arm. “I just always have good position.”
Newell, 27, said he’ll take the pundits’ opinions the same way he always has – by completely ignoring them.
“I don’t really care,” he said. “Whether you think it’s an advantage or disadvantage, I’m gonna do it and I’m gonna be good at it.”
The Connecticut native said he hopes to fight again for WSOF in the summer. He doesn’t have an opponent yet, but wants a title fight against new champion Justin Gaethje.
WSOF president Ray Sefo told Huffington Post in December that two shows in 2014 will be aired on NBC. The organization has a three-year deal with NBC Sports Network. Newell said he’s “not at liberty” to say whether he’ll be fighting on the mothership channel.
“It’s a strong rumor,” Newell said coyly.
As for one day fighting in the UFC, Newell said he’s happy with WSOF currently. Anthony Johnson, who starred for World Series, just signed a deal with the UFC this week. But Newell said he’s not thinking about moving on any time soon.
“They take good care of me,” Newell said. “I’m in no rush to leave.”