Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it. For example, reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder Robbie Lawler may have been born in San Diego, but few would recognize him as a Californian.
Anyone who follows MMA knows Nick Newell and his story. Born with a congenital amputation that resulted in his left arm stopping just below the elbow, the Milford, Connecticut, native refused to allow the disability to prevent him from chasing his dreams.
Newell took up wrestling in high school, continued with the sport in college and compiled more than 300 career victories. Later, he made the move to mixed martial arts and beat every man he faced, save one: reigning World Series of Fighting lightweight champion Justin Gaethje. Prior to signing with the WSOF, Newell captured Xtreme Fighting Championships gold with a first-round rear-naked choke submission on Bellator MMA veteran Eric Reynolds in 2012.
The 29-year-old Newell went 4-1 under the World Series of Fighting banner. He announced his retirement following a unanimous decision over Tom Marcellino at WSOF 24 in October, closing the book on his career with a stellar 13-1 record. Ten of those victories resulted in finishes, all inside one round.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Dan Cramer, Brennan Ward