Nick Newell has overcome his fair share of adversity in his career, but it has finally paid off for him.
The rising lightweight will fight for the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) lightweight title against champion Justin Gaethje at WSOF 11. The event doesn't have a set date just yet, as the promotion announced the plans for the card directly after WSOF 9 this past weekend.
"Notorious" has 11 straight victories, fresh off a stoppage over Sabah Fadai at WSOF 7 last December. His opponent, Gaethje, is also 11-0, with six straight stoppage victories due to strikes.
Newell stopped by the MMA Hour to share his emotions leading up to the fight.
"Happy, excited, motivated. Ready to basically go out there and show my skills, and everything I've been working so hard on."
This will be Newell's first title shot for the promotion, in only his third appearance under the WSOF banner.
It is expected this particular fight card will air on NBC's leading network, instead of NBC Sports Network. However, Newell hasn't heard anything about the specifics and he doesn't care too much for them, either, instead focusing on the task ahead of him.
"You know, there's strong rumors, but I don't know anything. Nothing's set. I'm just kind of in the gray on all this, but I know who I'm fighting and I know a general time area, so I'm just getting ready for the fight and not really worrying about anything else or any hoopla around it. My goal is to win this fight, whether it's on NBC or NBC Sports. Obviously, NBC would be a huge deal, and I prefer that, but either way, I have a really tough opponent that I have to defeat and that's my main goal."
As a congenital amputee, Newell has had to climb obstacles his entire career, yet they haven't slowed him down or pegged him back whatsoever. He will always have his critics, like everyone does, who have never seen him fight voice their opinions on him.
He's not going to shy away from the pressure of being in a title fight, ready to juggle everything that comes his way when competing on the biggest stage of his young career.
"I'm fine. I worried in the past too much about what people are going to say, or what people are going to do, or what people think about me or how I look, stuff like that. I just realize that all the people that have been around me and support me always support me, and I just don't get caught up in any of that stuff. A fight's a fight. You know, and this one's just a bigger opportunity and I just have to get ready to rise to the occasion and I will be."
Maybe it's time for us to stop focusing on his arm and start focusing on his heart..