ULTMMA prospect watch Jesse Newell
The evolution of mixed martial arts training has lead to some athletes seeking out specialized camps, where well rounded fighters have the opportunity work with All American wrestlers, BJJ black belts and pro boxers all in a singular training camp.
California's Jesse Newell comes from wrestling background. The 23 year old also has the unique opportunity to cross train with some of best at two of the most important disciplines in MMA; Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and boxing. Newell trains BJJ under Fabio Leopoldo at Gracie Barra Ventura and throws hands with two of boxing rising stars in featherweight David Rodela and Golden Boy Promotion's Victor Ortiz at Knucklehead boxing gym in Ventura. In 2008, Ortiz was named the best prospect in boxing by ESPN.com.
After a successful 2009 in which he went 2-0 Newell's first fight in 2010 will be the main of California Fight Syndicate's January 16th card.
ULTMMA.com spoke with Newell prior to one of his final training sessions in preparation for his bout with Brandon Bender. Newell opened up about his entrance into MMA, thoughts on his chances with the WEC and his day to day sparring sessions with Ortiz and Rodela.
ULTMMA.com: How did you get started training in mixed martial arts?
Jesse Newell: I started off wrestling when I was seven years old. Then I stopped wrestling in high school because I got into the hanging with girls and the partying thing, but I still had that competitive streak in me. Jeremy Jackson opened a gym and held open tryouts. At first they didn't want me because they saw a wrestler with no boxing, jiu-jitsu or anything like that.
They gave a free month at the gym after the tryouts and I was there every day of the month training, so they knew I was serious. I had my first amateur fight after two months of training and it was versus a kid that used to pick on me in high school. I ended up beating the crap at of him in 36 seconds.
ULTMMA: Who do you train with now?
Newell: For sparring partners I work with a couple professional boxers David Rodela and Victor Ortiz. I train Fabio Leopoldo for my jiu-jitsu and he's a three time world champion.
ULTMMA: Can explain the long layoff you took during 2008.
Newell: I started school. My last fight before that was November 2007 and I realized there was a lot I needed to work on. So, I spent that time learning jiu-jitsu from Fabio. My game has advanced a lot and just grown since then.
ULTMMA: How far are you away from competing in a show like the WEC?
Newell: I think I can beat half the guy's in there already. I think I can beat at least half the guys that are in the WEC. I've seen some of those guys and their skill set is horrible. A lot of them go in there and look they just came off the barstool.
ULTMMA: In the next 12-18 months what do you have to do in order to achieve that goal?
Newell: Train hard and keep doing what I'm doing. My fights will speak for themselves. I haven't gone to a decision in any fight and I finish everything decisively. I don't like leaving it up to the judges. They'll see me one day.
I'm in no rush. I'm only 23 years old.
ULTMMA: Scouting yourself what are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
Newell: My strengths my chin, my heart and I don't give up. I'll take the fight where ever it goes. I train for everything, so I don't think there are any holes in my game. If, there are weaknesses....If I told you I would have to kill you. (Laughs)
ULTMMA: What do you think your opponent's game plan will be at Throwdown at the Showground?
Newell: For what I hear he is a wrestler and a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. I'm sure he's looked at my videos online. I think he's going to try and take me down, and get it to the ground. I'm not sure. I train for every part of the game so wherever it goes, I'm ready for it.
ULTMMA: What is it like getting in the ring with boxers like Victor Ortiz and David Rodela?
Newell: Very humbling, you think you're up there at a certain level than you get in there with a guy who has been doing it his whole life and I'm thinking "can I just take this guy down?" or "how many arms does this guy have?" it's made me nothing but a better person and a stand up fighter.
ULTMMA: How active do you want to be in 2010? How many fights are you shooting for?
Newell: As many as my body will allow me to. I'd like to do one every six to eight weeks. I wish I could do the whole Tyson thing and go once every two weeks. That's asking a little much and very taxing on the body.
I would like to get to the next level because I truly believe I can beat most of the guys you see on TV in the WEC.
ULTMMA: Is 145 pounds your permanent weight class?
Newell: I fought at 155 my first three fights and I realized a lot of those guys are dropping from 180 pounds. I walk around at like 160. 145 is my best weight and my boxing trainer is eventually going to let me box professionally at 140 pounds. We'll see how that goes.
ULTMMA: Any sponsors you would like to thank?
Newell: Fabio Leopoldo Gracie Barra Ventura, Knucklehead boxing gym out of Ventura, Victor Ortiz and David Rodela are big inspirations seeing what they are doing, Hitman fight gear, Insane Apparel, Handsome devil clothing, Apostle MMA, all my friends and family for supporting me.