It was more than just another fight for “Notorious” Nick Newell (6-0) when he stepped into the cage last December at XFC 15: Tribute. Not only was he making his television debut for the Tampa, Fla. based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, but Newell was also dealing with the recent passing of his close friend Abi Mestre.
Despite all of that, Newell was able to submit Denis Hernandez (3-5) in the first round and remain undefeated in his professional career.
“It was a good experience to get that win, “ Newell said. “Obviously I wish that Abi was with me and we were both fighting on the card at the same time, but I’m honored that the XFC was able to dedicate the show to him.”
Since his bout with Hernandez, Newell’s popularity has sky rocked with the video of the fight garnering more than 1.6 million views to date on YouTube. Newell was also featured in the February issue of Maxim magazine.
“I’m definitely a lot more popular than I was before the fight,” Newell said. “It feels good to get some attention and some recognition, but that popularity can go away as fast as it came if I don’t keep up with the hard work that got me here.”
One of the added benefits of Newell’s growing popularity is that finding opponents to face a one-armed MMA fighter isn’t as difficult of a task as it used to be.
“It’s a big opportunity fighting live on HDNet so a lot of fighters want that opportunity,” Newell said. “The XFC has done a pretty good job of finding opponents for me. They say they want me on the card and they find me tough opponents like I’ve been asking for. This time I asked for a good fighter with a good record and they went out and found me one.”
“Chris is a well rounded guy,” Newell said. “He is a wrestler but he’s pretty explosive standing up too. He’s a good athlete, but I have all those traits too and I just think that I’m going to be a couple steps ahead of him in every category. On the ground I’m a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and my stand up is good too, but you guys just haven’t gotten to see it yet. I’m comfortable wherever this fight goes.”
In addition to training out of the Fighting Arts Academy in Springfield, Mass. for his upcoming bout, Newell also spent some time training with American Top Team in Florida two months ago. As a result, Newell says that he is the best fighter that he has ever been.
“I’m just really falling into my style and finding out what I do best,” Newell said. “I feel great, and I feel like every time I fight you’re going to see a better Nick Newell. I’m really looking forward to shining on Friday night, and a lot of people are going to be surprised.”
And while he has been able to finish all of his previous opponents within the first round, Newell said that he doesn’t feel any pressure to try and finish Coggins quickly and that he is prepared to go the distance if necessary.
“I just make sure that I work as hard as I can in training and I do everything right leading up to a fight and then there is no pressure on me,” Newell said. “I train for a five-round fight even though it’s only a three-round fight. If I can finish it fast then I will, but if it goes the distance then I’ll be ready for that too.”
Nick Newell (@NotoriousNewell, Facebook.com/NickNewellMMA) would like to thank the Fighting Arts Academy, Ultiamte MMA, FitConCT.com, Destory Athletics Clothing, Tap Cancer Out, American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, and his friends, family, and fans for all of their support.