ONTARIO, Calif. -- For most observers Saturday night, Nick Newell's World Series of Fighting Victory over Keon Caldwell was a revelation. Many had heard about the undefeated lightweight from Connecticut, but until fighting live on national television, but few had seen what the hype was all about.
But in the immediate aftermath of the fight, Newell only saw room for improvement.
"I saw a lot of things I really need to work on," Newell said. "Not everything out there went the way I wanted it to. I'm probably going to take a week off, then I'm going to get cracking right away."
That's the type of mentality that's enabled Newell to win his first 10 professional fights, and one that helped push him to overwhelm Caldwell before finishing him in just over two minutes with a guillotine choke.
When pressed, Newell let up on the self-critique and allowed that was happy with much about the way the fight went down.
"I think I showed people that my striking game was legit. And I'm a lot faster than people give me credit for. I fought a very good guy, he was 9-1, he had a great record. You know, I'm happy now, I'm ready to celebrate with my family and my team."
Newell's victory means he's earned a spot in WSOF's four-man lightweight tournament, with date and opponent to be determined. But for now, sitting with his team in a back room at Citizen's Business Bank Arena long after the crowd had filed out, Newell is just glad he has the chance to do what he's doing for a living.
"I train so hard, when I go out there it means absolutely everything to me," an introspective Newell said. "I leave my heart and soul in the cage. I don't want to work a normal job, I want to be a fighter."