Nick Newell world champion
Milford’s own Nick Newell is the Mixed Martial Arts Xtreme Fighting Championships lightweight champion of the world.
Newell defeated veteran Eric Reynolds quickly and improved his unblemished record to 9-0 with the title win at XFC 21 Night of Champions II in Nashville, Tenn. on Friday, Dec. 7.
Newell earned the victory in a tidy 82 seconds in the first of five scheduled five-minute rounds.
He got behind the 26-year-old Reynolds (16-5) with a body lock and put on rear-naked choke hold that forced Reynolds to submit and give the 26-year-old Newell the title.
It was the seventh first-round win in nine bouts for Newell, who followed up his scholastic career by wrestling at Western New England.
Newell, a former 126-win wrestler at Jonathan Law, has become an inspiration for those with limb differences after working his way to the 155-pound title.
Newell’s left arm stops just after the elbow after congenital amputation at birth.
Newell told MMA Fighting before becoming MMA’s first one-armed champion:
“My goal is to prove that people with disabilities can go out and win. It’s more of a message I’d like to send, that if you have a goal, go out and do it. Try it, whether it’s fighting or something else.
“Whether you want to be the best at your job, or at sports, just do your best. Give it everything you have. Winning is very important to me, but at the end of the day, even if I lose, as long as I know I gave it everything I had, there’s no shame in that.”
Newell’s 53 wins his senior year at Law, when he wrestled a state-high 63 matches, was best in the state record books upon graduation and still ranks him third.
Law coach Matt Schoonmaker said:
“From my perspective, Nick was more of a son then a former athlete. I love all the kids that I’ve been fortunate enough to coach over the years, but our relationship was simply more than that of coach and athlete.
“I recall when he told me that he was starting to train for MMA and I just asked him to not have it interfere with his collegiate season and that when he was done with wrestling to go for it.
“Even before his fights now that he is a professional, I make sure to reach out to him and let him know that I’m in his corner and try and offer whatever support I feel he may need.
“I told Nick prior to his last fight that even if he had never started competing and simply gone on with his life, that I would have been so proud of him and his achievements.
“To see him win a world championship was just amazing, to see the impact that he has had on so many young peoples lives as well as those who are older than him is just awesome.
“Nick will be in my wedding in March and will be a part of my family with my wife and six-year old Will and my three-year-old Declan. I couldn’t ask for a better role model for my two sons, and not because he’s a World Champion fighter, but because he is what any parent would want there son to be.
“Nick’s not afraid of working hard, having a dream and when he got knocked down or had a setback he didn’t give up. He just reapplied himself and continued to work and strive to become better.”