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One-handed fighter Marney Maxx proud to be called ‘Brazilian Nick Newell’ after viral head kick KO

Marney Maxx knocked out Deivid Costa with a head kick at Demo Fight 11 in Salvador, Brazil.
Photo via Demo Fight

After being born with a congenital amputation of his left arm, a young man turned to martial arts in search for a better life.

Then, following a highlight-reel finish in MMA, he became an overnight sensation.

Sound familiar?

Yes, that’s the story of Marney Maxx, proudly known as “Brazilian Nick Newell.”

Maxx made headlines in January following a devastating head-kick knockout of Deivid Costa in Salvador, Brazil. His win drew a post on social media from his biggest idol, Newell, who referred to the Brazilian lightweight as his “fellow one-handed fighter.”

“[It was] awesome,” Maxx told MMA Fighting. “Despite the difficulties, the daily struggle, we try to show people they can do it. It feels incredible to be recognized as Nick Newell. I keep telling myself I’m a badass, and no one can take me down [laughs]. Only God can, and I know he doesn’t want to.”

Maxx, 33, began training martial arts in his native Fortaleza at early age, however he wasn’t very successful in his first few attempts.

But watching Newell’s MMA career in XFC and WSOF impressed and inspired him.

“I started in kung fu and didn’t do well,” Maxx said. “I was knocked out, people would drop me, and I had a hard time breathing. Then I began training Muay Thai and won everything, but still wanted more. I saw one of Nick Newell’s fights and decided to fight MMA.

“I was getting submitted all the time. But then I thought, ‘I’ll train jiu-jitsu because I want to be just like Nick.’ And now ‘Notorious’ reached out to me and we spoke. Man, I have no words.”

Maxx is expected to return to the cage on March 22 against a yet-to-be-determined opponent at Argentina’s Ragnarok event.

In the meantime, he sells jelly beans in the streets of Fortaleza and hopes to receive enough donations to afford to pay for his camp and travel costs to Argentina after resorting to getting a loan earlier this year to pay for his flight to compete in Salvador against Costa.

“I’ve thought about giving up,” Maxx said. “It sucks to sell jelly beans and try to make my dream come true but still come back home tired and short of money. It’s very tiresome. I had to stop teaching classes to train for this fight. I’ve been fighting for an opportunity in society since I was a kid, and it’s hard.”

With an MMA record of 4-4, Maxx may never reach the top of the world in the sport. Yet he hopes to finally be able to be a full-time fighter and fulfill his dreams.

“I had an anxiety crisis and was depressed,” Maxx said. “I wasn’t motivated, but then I had this chance in a big promotion. People didn’t believe in me, and I used that as fuel to go there and win. When I think about giving up, God gives me strength to continue.”

Photo via Demo Fight