By Elias Cepeda
Like many kids, young Nick Newell dabbled in a number of sports as a child. First, there was soccer, then karate and baseball.
Nothing really stuck with him, however, until he joined his high school’s wrestling team as a freshman. The fact that he was missing the lower portion of his left arm didn’t seem to matter to Newell.
His family had always encouraged Nick to take part in whatever interested him, like all the other kids, and now his interest was in combat sports. “I really loved one on one aspect,” he tells CagePotato in the days leading up to his fight against Keon Caldwell on tonight’s World Series of Fighting 4 event in California.
“I don’t like depending on anyone else to get the job done. At the end of the day, you have no excuses no one to blame.”
That Newell lost his first fifteen wrestling matches didn’t put a damper on his enthusiasm for wrestling, and it also didn’t bring scorn of teammates mad that he was losing so much. “I was the team’s only 103 pounder so if I went out there and got a forfeit win it was better than nothing,” he tells with a laugh.
“I got my balls busted because I was a freshman but that was about it. The wrestling team is a family. And the coach had a lot of faith in me expected a lot out of me, even when I sucked. He always believed in me. Everyone saw how hard I worked as well. You’re together six days a week and you develop a bond.”
During college Newell decided that he wanted to fight MMA because, well, he saw MMA fights and knew that he could be good enough to do it. “I knew that I wanted to fight when I went to see fights for the first time,” he says.
“There were some fights around where I was training wrestling in college and some friends asked if I wanted to go see some fights. I said, ‘yeah, I’ll go.’ When we were watching I thought to myself, ‘I could beat these guys.’ So, instead of just talking about it, I went out and started training and did it.”
Indeed he has. The lightweight has put together a perfect 9-0 record as a professional over the past four years and became the XFC champion.
Tonight, he makes the step up to The World Series of Fighting. In his opponent Caldwell, Newell will be facing a man previously selected for The Ultimate Fighter. If Newell wins, the plan is for him to take part in the WSOF lightweight tournament to crown a champion.
Newell has said he wanted better competition and he’s certainly getting it at WSOF. “I take it one fight at a time,” he says.
“My goal is always to fight better and better competition. If keep winning I’m gonna force people to recognize me. Everyone in the WSOF is a fantastic fighter. I’m happy with any fight I get. I’m ready to raise my stock. If I win this fight and I win the tournament, I’ll definitely be up there.”