Current XFC Lightweight Champion wants his shot in the Octagon


His name is Nick Newell, he is undefeated, currently on a 9 fight winning-streak with 8 first round finishes including 6 submissions and 2 TKO’s, and he’s most recently become the XFC Lightweight Champion defeating former Champion Eric Reynolds, a veteran pro-fighter who has gone the distance with elite Lightweight MMA stars such as former Bellator Champion Eddie Alvarez and Jorge Masvidal.

More impressive than that? Nick Newell has accomplished all of this single handedly… Literally. Nick Newell was born a congenital amputee with one hand, while the other arm extends just passed the elbow still giving him the ability to grapple and perform submissions.

Although even after everything this man has accomplished with his disadvantage, Dana White and many other top promotions still don’t seem to be impressed or even interested. Asked recently if he’d ever consider allowing someone with a physical disability like that of Newell an opportunity to prove themselves either on the prelims or a show like The Ultimate Fighter, Dana simply said:

“Guys with two arms have a hard enough time in the UFC as it is”

And he does have a point, the underdog story that has started off as truly inspiring could potentially turn ugly if not handled correctly. Although the same could have been true for Matt Hamill who was hearing impaired, yet still given an opportunity to prove himself, which he did brilliantly, turning himself into a successful and well-respected fighter in the UFC’s Light-heavyweight division.

Newell is an intelligent individual and realizes that his situation is not exactly normal. While making an appearance on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, he recently had this to say regarding his disability:

“No matter how much I accomplish in this sport, it’s always going to be something that gets brought up. I’ve come to terms with that. People will always look at me as being the guy with one hand”

Despite his circumstances however, the one thing Newell would like to make clear is that he will keep training and keep defeating who ever steps in his path, with the hopes that his stock will raise to a level of complete un-deniability.

To contrast what Dana White said about two hands not being enough, ironically Newell seems to be doing things with one hand that others with two hands haven’t been able to accomplish.

After becoming XFC champion and with a title now around his waist, Newell can feel the cards lining up in his favour:

“I feel like people are starting to look at me more as a talented fighter. I’m not just a guy who fights with hand. I’m a very talented fighter that happens to have one hand.”

That you are Nick, and I for one will be rooting for you to get every equal opportunity available to you. Here’s hoping for a Nick Newell UFC debut in 2013.

  • @Bryan…I started reading your article and got to paragraph 2 and thought holy shit…one hand and fighting…! Thats remarkable…!

    I think its more a case of Dana not wanting to see a guy who is disadvantaged get hurt in the division…despite proving to be a very talented fighter.

    Dana was originally completely opposed to womens MMA entering the UFC and did a backflip….Noone with a disability wants to be told they can't achieve something and they deserve the dignity to fight if they prove the talent….I believe one of the obstacles to a fighter with this physical disability is finding guys that will accept a fight. There will be fighters who don't want to lose to the guy with one arm, or take a win from the guy with one arm. Thats the problem i envisage with guys on the roster in the UFC.

    This guy is doing what he loves, has talent, so I wish him all the best.

  • Considering there are no little, breakable finger bones on his left arm, i wonder if he could hit harder than most people with it?

  • Newell is doing good but there are many guys with similar records who aren't in the UFC so if he wants to be treated like everyone else he will need to wait like all the other guys.

    If he keeps gong strong and looks good enough I think there should be no problem with him entering the UFC.

  • He is not like the other guys!!! He is awesome just by doing what he is currently doing…UFC DO IT!!!!!

  • I respect what hes done, but any good striker in the UFC with good take down defense will destroy him, that I dont care to see. If he can prove himself in Bellator or similar talented org. , he then might have a possible shot. Unfortunately, he'll have to have a 25-1 record before hes taken more seriously.

  • Many may look at being 1 handed as a handicap… but to Nick its not a handicap, he was born like that and his whole fighting style is adapted to being 1 handed since he started fighting. there are pro's and cons of having such a "handicap"… but in his case he managed to develop a style that is effective… for example he can sink in some chokes that in a lot of cases would be impossible to pull off.. this kid is no joke!

    • Glad you mentioned that. That's what I was thinking. He has an advantage actually on the ground. Those of us that have BJJ experience know how important holding a guys wrist or hand can be if they have your back and they're trying to choke you. If there's no wrist or hand on the arm that goes around the neck for a RNC, it would make it much harder to defend. Plus it's damn near impossible to ARMBAR HIM ON THAT SIDE. You can't turn his hand to the position needed to get the armbar. Also having no glove on that side is another thing that normally you could hold or manipulate to move the hand. I'm sure he can slide that thing and turn it so the armbar won't work on him. This reminds me of the controversy of the runner with no lower legs wanting to compete in the olympics, and people's arguments of whether he had an advantage or not. Due to his carbon fiber prosthetic springy feet, lol. I respect Nick Newel a lot for fighting with his body the way it is, and for being a fighter period. And it is not his fault, but unfortunately this kind of thing just shouldn't be allowed because it isn't fair. Maybe to both fighters.