Nick Newell, the MMA lightweight who fights with only one fully functional arm due to congenital amputation, will return to the cage after more than two years in retirement.
Despite the fact that Newell's left arm ends just below the elbow—putting him at a substantial disadvantage both offensively and defensively—Newell racked up a pro record of 13-1.
Newell spent much of his career in the World Series of Fighting promotion, which has now morphed into the Professional Fighters League. Now, however, Newell has reportedly signed with the Legacy Fighting Alliance, a lower-level but still respected promotion that airs regularly on AXS TV.
The signing was first reported by MMAJunkie. A date and opponent have not yet been announced for Newell's return bout.
Newell's journey in combat sports began with his high school wrestling team, on which he excelled. He fell in love with MMA and was soon fighting as an amateur. He again found success, earning legions of fans along the way.
He made his pro MMA debut in 2009 and soon moved up to Xtreme Fighting Championships, then a major player among the regional American circuits. After two straight XFC wins, he ascended to a title shot, where he defeated incumbent Eric Reynolds to capture the lightweight strap.
Not long after, WSOF came calling, and in 2013, Newell faced Keon Caldwell in his debut. To the great surprise of many, Newell submitted Caldwell with a guillotine choke, touching off a tidal wave of hype inside the MMA community.
Newell took one more victory before facing his toughest competition to date—WSOF lightweight titleholder Justin Gaethje. In a contest that was sometimes hard to watch, Gaethje battered Newell for nearly two full rounds before notching the TKO victory and a title defense. It was Newell's first—and, to date, only—professional loss. Gaethje, meanwhile, has migrated to the UFC, where he remains undefeated. He may soon be on the doorstep of a UFC title shot and has a reputation as one of the most violent and dangerous MMA fighters in the world.