Nick Newell will get a shot at the World Series of Fighting lightweight title when he meets champion Justin Gaethje on July 5 at WSOF 11.
Ahead of the bout, Newell joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to break down the matchup and more.
On whether a matchup against Gaethje is a marketable fight: “All you’ve got to do is look at the guy’s highlight reel and it sells itself. I definitely think I have more popularity going into this fight, but he has the more hype. I’d expect a lot of people to pick him to win. I’d probably be the underdog. I mean, not to myself obviously. I know I have what it takes to beat him, but he’s a great fighter. He’s certainly entertaining and we both are very similar. I think we both are 11-0 with 10 finishes. He’s more knockouts and I’m more submissions, but we both have knockouts and submissions and we go for it. Who doesn’t want to see that?”
On Gaethje saying he won’t be choked out: “Obviously he thinks that and he’s entitled to think that. If he didn’t think that, then he probably wouldn’t be as good as he is. I don’t think he’s going to knock me out. I don’t think he has better standup than me. He’s proven more than me in terms of the kickboxing department, but I see holes in his game that I feel like I can expose. I just feel like I’m the better fighter. I think he’s a fantastic fighter. I think that he’s top 10 in the world right now, but I also know that in July I’m going to beat him and I’m going to get that belt.”
On getting the title shot: “I said that I wanted the fight. [Matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz] asked me if I wanted to fight Gaethje and I told him yeah. Basically what Ali told me was, he was like, ‘Look. There’s a lot of politics involved with you.’ Like people are, I think, a little bit too worried about what’s going to happen if I lose. I feel like I deserve the same chance to get my ass whooped as everyone else. I don’t plan on it. I plan on winning. He basically said [there’s] politics. He goes, ‘I don’t care. You earned the title shot, so I’m giving it to you and nothing else matters.’”
On being a congenital amputee: “I don’t think it’s what defines me. I think that maybe initially it gets people to pay attention to me a little faster than they would pay attention to someone else. Like, ‘Holy crap. Is that guy seriously fighting?’ But when you look past that and you look at my technique and skill, I think that becomes more of the focus point. … I’m not the one-handed fighter. I’m not [saying], ‘Oh, look at me. Look at what I’m doing. I’m defying adversity. Isn’t this special?’ I never thought like that. I just always wanted to fight.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:03:56).