EXCLUSIVE | Undefeated Nick Newell Discusses Departure from XFC, Upcoming WSOF Debut | Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio
| Our crew over at BJPenn.com’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio hosted another great show this past Sunday and they had the opportunity to talk with WSOF lightweight, Nick Newell. Nick recently signed with World Series of Fighting and boasts an undefeated 9-0 record. Newell, who is well known for having such an impressive record despite having the use of only one arm, will be making his WSOF debut on August 10th at WSOF 4 against Keon Caldwell (9-1 MMA). Before signing with WSOF Newell held the XFC lightweight title and he’ll be looking to keep his perfect record intact on the way through another title run starting next month against Caldwell. Newell stopped in shop to discuss his new home of the WSOF, his fallout with XFC, and his upcoming fight with Caldwell. Here are some of the highlights from that interview with BJPenn.com’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio:
Nick was first asked how life was treating him and how training for his upcoming fight opposite of Keon Caldwell was coming along:
“Life’s been good. I haven’t fought in a little bit but I’ve been using all of this time to get better and really improve myself and I’m a way better fighter than the last time you saw me out there,” Newell said. “I’ve been working hard and improving and I’m ready to fight for World Series of Fighting, which is a great organization.”
“I can’t wait to make my debut.”
He then commented on his newly adopted home of the WSOF. Newell, who was the former lightweight champion of XFC, discussed the opportunity and spotlight that his new home will provide for his career. He explained, “Now I have the opportunity to fight for World Series of Fighting, which is a huge platform on NBC Sports Network, and I think they just kind of stepped in right where Strikeforce left off. They got a lot of hype around them and they’re signing all the best guys and it really is a great opportunity and I’m very motivated to take advantage of it and make the most of it.”
There was a lot of finger-pointing and rumors kicked up following Newell’s departure from the XFC promotion. He was asked about the situation and he gladly cleared the air when he replied, “My contract was expired so I was already in talks with other organizations and I just really liked what World Series had to offer me the best for my career. You know, if you have a job somewhere and you get offered a better job you usually go. You got to do what’s best for your career.” He continued, “If I was still with them [XFC] I’d be fighting Eric Reynolds again and I’m just really motivated for the new challenges that are in front of me in the World Series of Fighting. What I really want is the attention and the notoriety that comes from winning.”
“It seems like every one is paying a lot of attention to World Series of Fighting and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
When asked about how he felt XFC and the top-men of that promotion handled the situation when Newell decided to pass on re-signing with them he stated that he didn’t really want to get into blaming anyone or pointing anymore fingers. “I always try to be a professional and not really bad mouth anyone and it wasn’t really the real reason why I left the company,” he explained. “I had to do what’s best for me and to try to fire me like that was kind of ridiculous but, you know, I’m over it. I have thick skin.”
It was also rumored that Newell was leaving the promotion because he was scared of the next opponent the company was rumoring to challenge him for his strap.
“I don’t think anyone actually believed that. Maybe some people did, maybe Scott because they told him that,” he laughingly stated. “If I was afraid to fight I wouldn’t fight at all.”
The conversation then shifted to his upcoming WSOF debut against the former welterweight fighter, Keon Caldwell. Newell was asked if this fight was indeed at lightweight and if he felt Caldwell’s size was going to play a big factor in this fight.
“Yeah it’s at lightweight. I expect him to be a pretty big dude considering all of his fights have been at 170 lbs,” Newell answered. “I could probably fight at 145 if I wanted to but I feel really strong at 155 and I’ve been doing great at it so I’m going to stay there. It’s one thing to be big, it’s another thing to be strong and I’m very strong. I’m fighting a guy that’s 9-1 and I think he has 9 finishes, you know? So, 9 knock-outs is a pretty solid resume.”
Newell will arguably face the biggest test of his career on August 10th as he takes on Keon Caldwell and he was asked to comment on how he thought the fight would play out and if he believed his wrestling skills were going to be the big game-changer in the fight.
“It’s hard to say until it happens. I’ve been working a lot on my stand up so, I’m sure he’s ready for a wrestler and he thinks I’m probably just going to grapple him but the element of surprise is always the x-factor whenever you fight. Obviously people think I have the advantage grappling,” he replied. “Anything can happen in a fight.”
Nick Newell has been faced with naysayers and haters his entire career and when asked to comment on people’s fear that he is putting himself in danger because of only having on arm he replied, “I know what I’m getting myself into. I believe in equal rights. I believe I have an equal enough right to beat people up and I believe I have an equal enough right to get my ass kicked. I just think it’s better to give than to receive.”
“I’m ready for this mentally. I’ve competed in wrestling for so long,” he continued. “I’ll always enjoy it so that’s all that matters.”
He was then asked to comment on the fan base he has built up because of his incredibly inspiring story. He stated, “I think I bring in a lot of people that aren’t necessarily fight fans, they’re just interested in my story.”
His shift to the larger, more recognized organization of WSOF will undoubtedly bring him much tougher competition in the future and according to Newell that’s just the way he wanted it. He explained, “I just kind of wanted to test myself more and more every fight with tougher competition.”
“[WSOF] is really turning a lot of heads and I think they’re in it for the long run. Like I said, I think they slid in right where Strikeforce left off and they’re doing big things. I’m very, very happy to be a part of this company.”
“They really understand everything that fighters go through,” he explained, “and aside from that, the fights they’re putting on are spectacular.”
Newell will have his chance to be a part of the spectacular and bright future that the WSOF is seemingly building before our eyes. He’ll be heavily tested as he makes his promotional debut on August 10th at WSOF 4 in Ontario, California against Keon Caldwell. We thank Mr. Newell for taking the time out of his schedule to discuss his recent happenings with all the fans here at BJPenn.com and Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio. We wish him the best of luck with his upcoming fight and we look forward to watching him in action for the WSOF.