Being born without part of his arm has not stopped a mixed martial arts fighter from Milford from recently winning the title of XFC lightweight world championship.
However, Nick Newell, 26, told Eyewitness News that he wants to fight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but so far the president of the company is against the idea.
"I think that whether you're missing a limb or you're not missing a limb, you should always be confident in yourself," Newell said in a recent interview with Eyewitness News.
Newell said he was born with congenital amputation in his left arm. He's used to strangers throwing him glances, but said his friends and family have never pitied him and have always encouraged him to be active.
"Growing up, I was always looked at a little different," Newell said. "I've been like this my whole life and I don't know any other way."
Newell joined the wrestling team at Jonathan Law High School in Milford where he was a captain and all-state wrestler. In college, he would become the captain of his wrestling team.
"After I was done in college, I really needed something to compete in," Newell said. "I had a void that was left."
About 4 1/2 years ago, Newell started his mixed martial arts career. He traveled to Massachusetts where they did not have an athletic commission yet, which meant he could fight as long as he got permission from the promoter.
"I told the promoter, 'I'm going to sell a lot of tickets' and he said, 'You can fight,'" Newell said.
At first, Newell was touted as a gimmick to sell tickets, but that quickly changed as he won his first amateur title. And shortly after that he turned professional.
Newell spends his days training at Ultimate MMA Training Center in North Haven.
"After, he tapped me like two, three times," said Louis Figueroa, who is the trainer for Newell, "I'm like how is this guy doing this?"
So far, Newell has recorded nine straight wins and remains undefeated with eight of his victories coming in the first round. In December, while fighting for XFC, he won the lightweight championship.
"You are the way you are and sometimes you don't get the fairest shake or things don't go your way or you were born into a bad situation. You've got to be able to adapt and overcome," Newell told Eyewitness News.
Newell said in five years that he plans to be "kicking butt" in the UFC.
UFC President Dana White said he would "never" allow Newell to compete for his company.
White was previously quoted saying, "Fighting with one arm is just craziness to me."
He added that it's a hard enough game to fight with two arms and could not imagine someone fighting with one.
Newell told Eyewitness News that he doesn't need special treatment and wants equal opportunity. He said he is not quitting until he gets it.
"I'm far from invincible but I've proven that I'm more than capable," Newell said. "And all I'm asking for is my fair shake just like everyone else."
In the end, Newell told Eyewitness News that he is "not going anywhere."
"I'm going to keep working hard and I'm going to keep winning," he said. "And you're going to see a lot more of Nick Newell in the future."
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