Bellator’s Nick Newell, who is the subject of the recently released movie Notorious Nick, was on today’s episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Newell discussed his love for pro wrestling and how that inspired him on his journey in MMA. Host and Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman asked Newell if he has any interest in playing in the pro wrestling waters.
“I have a lot of connections to pro wrestling. CM Punk is a big fan,” Newell pointed out. “He’s been supporting me for a long time. He’s a good dude. He’s a cool dude. He’s been a real one on the Nick Newell train. A bunch of wrestlers tweet me and follow me on Twitter. I’ve been training, actually, for probably well over a decade with Tom Matera, who was Antonio from The Heart Throbs in the WWE. He’s good. He’s been training for a long time. He doesn’t want to fight or anything like that, but he just trains, and he’s pretty good. He’s a real martial artist.
“I’ve been training with him for over a decade, so I have a connection there, and then I have an up-and-coming wrestler that’s really entertaining. I go see his local shows, Wrecking Ball Legursky. He comes by my gym to train sometimes, and I’m looking forward to him getting a call up to the big show, so I obviously follow wrestling and love wrestling, and it’s the reason why I fight. I owe a lot to the sport of pro wrestling because no wrestling, then no amateur wrestling, no amateur wrestling, then no fighting, no fighting, then no movie. No Nick Newell. No who I am today. I owe a lot of my success to that.”
CM Punk had a brief UFC career with only two fights. He has gone on to admit the mistakes he made in pursuing an MMA career. Punk is now rumored to arrive at AEW, and Newell commented on Punk’s UFC career and the criticism he has received over the years. Back when Punk signed to UFC, Newell tweeted, “Kind of cool that @CMPunk is going to fight. I can’t wait to read all the tweets of sh*tty 1-0 & 2-0 fighters calling him out.”
“I mean, props to the guy. You can’t knock someone for taking the opportunity that’s presented to them,” Newell said. “He’s a big draw. You don’t know if you can’t swim if you don’t ever jumped in the pool, right? And he took the risk, and he put himself out there and he’s been a big fan and supporter of MMA for a while.
“And he went in there, and it didn’t work out. It takes most people at least 10 years of training to get to that level, and he did two years of training. What do you expect? He went, and he tried. Mickey Gall’s a top fighter, and Mike Jackson has been training forever too. Maybe Mike Jackson isn’t the top of the top UFC fighter, but he’s someone that’s polished, and has a kickboxing record and has been competing for a long time.
“It is what it is, man. He gave it a go, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but you don’t want to sit back when you die and wish you tried something you didn’t. It’s better to try and fail than then not try at all, in my opinion. He’s back at wrestling, hopefully. I don’t know. I’m not close enough to get the secrets, but I support him in whatever decision he decides to make.”
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