Nick Newell's record speaks for itself. In 12 professional fights, his only loss so far is to WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje, who just had a "fight of the year" candidate against Luis Palomino.
Newell winds up in a lot of highly-viewed and widely-discussed fights himself. He finishes over 70-percent of his fights with a submission, a rather remarkable amount for any fighter, but perhaps more so for Newell given he was born with one arm.
WSOF was not dismayed that Newell lost his title shot last July. In fact, they signed Newell to a new four-fight contract in February. After pen was put to paper, Newell was announced for a fight with Joe Condon on April 10 on NBC Sports Network.
Newell recently spoke to MMAmania.com about his fight with Joe Condon, his future title aspirations, and how professional wrestling had an influence in his life -- as well as that of his college roommate. Newell is ready and psyched up for his next fight.
"You know, I had to go back to the drawing board (after Gaethje). I'm back, I'm better than ever. I'm healed up and I'm ready to make a statement in my home state. I'm just ready to move on and make a statement April 10th."
Making a statement against Condon won't be easy. He stepped up to the co-main event on short notice at WSOF 17 and submitted the previously unbeaten Jonathan "Johnny Boy" Nunez with a rear-naked choke in the third round.
"He's well rounded I'd say. He's got pretty good technique, he's pretty good on the ground. He's very relaxed striking. I wouldn't say he's able to deal with my strength or speed. He's definitely a veteran, this will be his 20th pro fight, he's very good, that's why he got to fight on the main card against me."
Newell is rightfully confident in his black belt in jiu-jitsu, but he's also humble about the fact he's succeeded at the highest level, saying that it's all in the hard work he puts in and the simple fact that no one ever told him he couldn't succeed.
"It's not something that I ever really had big plans for, it's just that my family never treated me any different than anybody else. I was just raised to believe in myself and believe I can do anything I wanted to do. So one day I decided that I wanted to start fighting, and I didn't have any grand dreams or anything like that. I just wanted to do the best I possibly could do. When you believe in yourself and you work hard, it goes a long way."
Having an amateur wrestling background certainly helped Newell succeed, but he also developed an interest in wrestling through watching WWE all the way through his college days, and then got hooked on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) when it came on after Monday Night RAW.
"In college my roommate was Curt Hawkins, he was in the WWE, Brian Myers now on the independent circuit. The guys used to get together and watch RAW so I used to watch it with them and afterward, The Ultimate Fighter was on. You know I was like, 'Oh this is cool, I'd like to learn how to fight someone!'"
Fighting definitely comes natural to Newell, who vows his fight on April 10 at the Foxwoods Casino will be all about respect, and about another win under his belt.
"I think (Condon) has been very respectful, so it's hard for me to disrespect something like that, and keeping the respect in martial arts is something that I like. Obviously, we're not going going to see eye-to-eye on our opinion of this fight, but I hope he comes in in good shape and I hope he comes ready for a fight. I'm feeling great, I look better than I ever looked, my technique's better. I'm faster, I'm bigger, I'm stronger, and I'm going to take in all the energy from the hometown crowd. He's in for a very talented Nick Newell, the best Nick Newell you've seen yet."
Newell is also not giving up on his WSOF lightweight title aspirations.
"I have to think that I'm in the running. I'm definitely a contender. That's my goal is to work my way back up. Right now, I'm not thinking about the title, I'm just thinking about Joe. We'll see after next week, and then people will be talking about me getting another title shot when they see the way I perform."
Stay tuned for WSOF 20: "Markes vs. Branch" fight coverage next week on MMAmania.com. The complete audio of our interview with Nick Newell is below.