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Nick Newell Says He’s More Than Just a One-Handed Fighter

December 4, 2012 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

XFC fighter Nick Newell and his coach Jeremy Libiszewski recently spoke with MMAjunkie about fighting without his left hand and most of his arm below the elbow due to congenital amputation. Check out the highlights:

Libiszewski on people’s perception of Newell: “I think at first people thought of him as a sideshow. Now they’re going, ‘Well, he’s good, but I don’t think he’s that good.’ It’s one of those things where, the same reason he gets attention is the same reason why he doesn’t get respect.”

Libiszewski on Newell’s efforts to make an impact in people’s lives: “No matter how busy he is, he always makes time for kids and adults who are struggling with the same kind of things he did in life. That, to me, is the best part of it. That’s the martial arts part of it. People see the fighting, but they don’t see that martial artist person who’s in here teaching kids’ classes and helping people out. That’s the stuff that me, my wife and all the people around here are really proud of.”

Newell on wrestling in high school: “I came in not knowing anything, thinking I was going to put people in figure-four leglocks. Then I got my butt kicked in the beginning.”

Newell on his initial high school losing streak dampening any potential inspirational story aspect: “It quickly diminished as I got destroyed my entire first year of wrestling. That bothered me. I know what it’s like to be a loser. I know what it’s like to be the guy that no one really expects anything from.”

Newell on not accomplishing everything he wanted to as a college wrestler: “I had a lot of distractions. They were good distractions. I was really focused on earning a degree and getting good grades. That kind of hurt my training a little bit, and I kind of felt a void because I didn’t do everything I wanted to do there.”

Newell on first meeting Libiszewski at Springfield’s Fighting Arts Academy: “I didn’t really think anything of it when he first came in. I mostly just noticed that he was a good athlete. He picked up things really quickly, and it wasn’t hard to teach him.”

Newell on going pro as early as he could: “I didn’t want them to say something like, ‘You can fight amateur but not pro.’ I wanted to fight pro before they came around so I could say, ‘Look, I can do this. I’m winning pro fights.'”

Libiszewski on Newell’s fight with Eric Reynolds at XFC 21: “This will be his first real test. This guy is an A-level fighter. He’s possibly a UFC-level fighter. They’re fighting for a title for a reason.”

Newell on his aspirations: “My goal when I started was never to be the one-handed fighter. My goal is to be the best in the world.”

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Jeremy Thomas
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