Saturday night was a big night for congenital amputee Nick Newell.
After fighting his way through the minors and spending a lot of time and effort trying to convince the UFC to give him a shot (one he eventually got via Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series) he finally seems to have landed himself a home with Bellator MMA.
The promotion signed him to a one fight deal, just more of the caution organizations keep showing when a prospect is missing the upper end of an arm. But Newell made the best of his opportunity, submitting his opponent Corey Browning with an arm triangle choke 3:15 into the first round (watch the highlights here).
Bellator head Scott Coker said Newell’s future with the promotion would be determined by his performance at Bellator 225. It’s hard to imagine them turning him away after that impressive outing, and Newell has made it clear he wants to stay.
”Last night was special,” he wrote on Instagram. “Took me 10 long years to get here & I’m not going away. Thank you Bellator MMA.”
He expanded on those feelings in an interview with MMA Fighting.
“I think the future is bright,” he said. “I think I’m going to be a man in this division. I think I’m a lot better than people give me credit for and I know for a fact that I can move myself toward the top of the ladder. If they have a 155-pound tournament, I’d love to do that. I’m going to be a problem.”
We can see why he’d love a tournament: let him sink or swim based on his merit, not on matchmaking or promotion built around his disability as ‘the one armed MMA fighter.’ He probably still has some more to prove to Bellator brass before they’d consider putting him against the best of their lightweight division. His Bellator 225 opponent Browning had put away previously hyped Bellator prospects like Kevin Ferguson Jr. aka “Baby Slice”, but wasn’t ranked.
Perhaps someone sitting on the edge of the league’s top ten could be next? At 16-2, Newell is clearly ready for the next level of competition.
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