Following a 10-month layoff, lightweight Nick Newell returned to fighting this past May with a first-round submission win over Antonio Castillo Jr. at CES 56.
For Newell, the time off didn’t hinder his performance. He was able to come back off his second career loss in his fight prior to getting himself back on track with the win over Castillo.
“Props to (Castillo), he stepped on short notice,” Newell told MMAWeekly.com. “It was a different fight than what I was supposed (to have). I was just so well prepared and so ready that I was ready to do what I did, which was finish the fight in the first round.
“I’m not the type of guy who when he takes time off he stops training. I have a huge stable of fighters at my gym and people who are getting ready for fights, and I’m training with them all the time and getting them ready. I’m always in shape (and ready to fight).”
Now a decade into his pro fighting career, the 33-year-old Newell feels like his maturation not only as a fighter but as a man has been the biggest area of growth he’s seen in himself over the recent past.
“A lot of the time before I was still a little boy, and I’m not gonna lie, but I’m still a little childish in some of the things I do and some of the things I find funny, but that’s just how I am, but as a man as far as responsibility as a human I have stepped things up,” said Newell.
“I have a lot of stuff going on in my life and I’m really trying to kill everything I’m doing, and I think I’m doing a pretty good job of it. It’s seeing different things and your attitude. I’ve matured a lot as a man.”
At Bellator 225 on Saturday in Bridgeport, Conn., Newell (15-2) will look for his second straight win when he faces Corey Browning (5-2) in a preliminary 155-pound bout.
“I just have to do my thing and be myself,” Newell said. “Be that aggressive fighter that got me to where I am.
“I know how good I am, but I think people have only seen a fraction what I’m capable. I’m going to go out there, be aggressive, be smart, be mean and be a lot for him to deal with – it’s going to be a lot for anyone to deal with.”
For Newell, his upcoming fight in Bellator is an opportunity to start a new chapter in his career, and it’s definitely something he plans to capitalize on.
“I’m going to defeat Cory and from there talk to Bellator,” said Newell. “I appreciate the chance and would like to negotiate a long term contract with them for some opportunities to fight some of the bigger names in the division, but also really don’t want to get ahead of myself.”