Nick Newell was born with a left arm that ends just below his elbow.
The current XFC lightweight fighter was born with a condition called congenital amputation, which means his arm never fully developed due to a lack of blood supply.
Even with just a single arm, Newell is a mixed martial arts fighter, and a fine one at that.
The 26-year-old from Springfield is 8-0 as a professional, picking up a win over David Mays on the XFC 19 card last weekend in North Carolina. Seven of Newell’s eight wins have come via finish, with six submissions and two knockouts.
His devastating knockout over Mays — which, like many other Newell videos, quickly went viral on the Internet — will likely earn him a shot at XFC lightweight champion Eric Reynolds later this year.
Newell had a built-in excuse, but he’s never let his handicap get in the way of becoming a premiere athlete.
It was at Western New England College that Newell, a high school and college wrestling star, fell in love with MMA.
His roommate was Brian Myers, who now wrestles for WWE as Curt Hawkins. Myers kept their dorm room television glued to WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” program every week.
Following “Raw,” then televised on Spike TV, was a new show produced by the UFC, “The Ultimate Fighter,” where several aspiring fighters entered a house, trained and fought for a UFC contract.
“I was like, ‘Wow, this is like the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.’ I’m like, ‘I have to do this,’” Newell told MMAJunkie.com radio.
After graduating, Newell began planting the seeds of his MMA career.
He went 2-1 as an amateur. His biggest challenge wasn’t winning fights, though, it was simply getting fights. For most of his opponents, it was a lose-lose situation.