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15th Mar 2018

Even Justin Gaethje believes Nick Newell deserves UFC call

Ben Kiely

Justin Gaethje Nick Newell

When Justin Gaethje – Nick Newell was booked, it really was business as usual.

In one corner was undefeated knockout artist Justin Gaethje. After flattening Richard Patishnock to claim the WSOF lightweight belt, he was booked for his first defence against another 155 lber with a pristine record.

Nick Newell’s professional record at the time of 11-0 was identical to the belt holder. He was also known for his finishing prowess, but unlike Gaethje, his usual method of victory was via submission.

Another difference between the two fighters is that the challenger was born with a congenital amputation of his left arm. As a result, Newell’s left arm ends just below his elbow. While how he managed to overcome this to light up the regional scene was inspirational, few, if any, complained about him being granted a title shot against such a dangerous fighter.

The match-up made sense. Newell earned his crack at the championship and Gaethje was more than happy to give it to him.

Just another fight

Gaethje had a fairly dominant performance against Newell, finishing him in the second round via TKO. He utilised his heavy hands to get the finish like he’s done to many opponents before and since the fight.

The majority of those who tuned in saw it as just another fight. One man lost, one man won. The finish was brutal, but everyone had become accustomed to seeing Gaethje end fights in this manner.

Hardly anyone was outraged that a man with one hand was beaten in a fight he clearly wanted to take. He was outclassed, but not embarrassed. It wasn’t much different to Gaethje’s other fights, apart from the fact that Newell’s record was far better than most others who were matched up against the knockout monster.

Justin Gaethje Nick Newell

The next step

Newell has admitted that he was really struggling with injury issues around the time of the Gaethje fight up until his retirement in 2015. He won two more fights before hanging up his glove, both by unanimous decision.

After making a successful return at LFA 35, Newell made it clear that he wanted to test himself in the UFC. Dana White has gone on record to say that the promotion would never sign a one-handed fighter, but what he has done on the regional scene proves he’s more than worthy of at least a shot in the big leagues.

He has amassed a 14-1 record suggesting he is just a level above the guys he is currently fighting. He only needed two minutes to submit Sonny Luque via neck crank in his return. Even Gaethje, who has emerged as one of the best lightweights in the world, believes he deserves that coveted phone call.

Well said, Gaethje. In our book, the UFC could only benefit from having a fighter like Newell on its roster. There have been countless fighters who have been snapped up by the UFC with far worse records.