"Notorious" Nick Newell started 2012 as the undefeated one-armed fighter everyone was talking about. His fights were getting a ton of YouTube hits and he had just submitted Denis Hernandez in his XFC debut to close out 2011. All he did during 2012 was tack on three more wins to his perfect record, and win a championship in the process.
Does the fact that Newell competes as a congenital amputee help or hurt the chances of his getting a UFC contract? The debate will continue between the masses as to whether or not this is an unfair advantage or disadvantage when it comes to the many different aspects of our sport.
One can look at the controversy surrounding Olympian Oscar Pistorius for a small taste of what the MMA media, and fighters will be discussing as Newell continues to gain even more popularity. Or is Newell content being the current XFC poster boy? All we really know is that if Newell wasn't already on your radar before the year started - he is now. In a year where UFC fighters like Chris Weidman and John Moraga made meteoric rises in each of their respective divisions, it was Newell that made the biggest bang in the world of mixed martial arts. That's why he's earned our Breakout Fighter of the Year award for 2012, it was an easy choice. We leave you with video of his final two finishes of 2012, the last being an emotional victory over Eric Reynolds that brought him XFC gold. Truly a historic moment for this relatively young sport. And how about Michael "The Voice" Schiavello on the call! We look forward to what the "Notorious" one has to bring his fans in 2013.