Emanuel Newton (24-7-0) has one of the most distinct fighting mentalities and fighting styles in MMA. While Joey Beltran may have given the champ a run for his money for three rounds in Bellator 124, Newton proved that his fighting style is always capable of KO victory. We at scifighting.com had the pleasure of interview the champ for a second time, catching up with “The Hardcore Kid” in preparation for his second title defense against Linton Vassell.
You’re fighting a little over a month after your title defense against Joey Beltran. How is your overall health and training going into this fight?
Newton: Good, my training is done. I fought pretty back-to-back so I don’t really have to worry so much about getting in there and getting into the fight mind and into fight shape. It’s just about fine tuning, filling in the holes and getting ready for this one.
Where many fighters do everything they can to rehydrate and replenish after weigh-ins, you fought your last fight only having one protein shake the day of. Are you going to take the same approach for Friday’s fight?
Newton: I wouldn’t be able to tell you yet. I get my connection and my answers from the universe like I think everybody should. We’re all protons, neutrons and electrons that control our body because when it comes down to it, we’re all stardust. We all come from the universe and that’s just the way it is. My decisions are not made through my own way of thinking because I’ve surrendered that part of myself and said that I want the universe to make my decisions for me. I know that when the universe makes the decisions, everything will be proper and go the way it’s exactly supposed to go. It also makes my connection stronger and I can think with my mind and make something happen with myself, which everybody should. If you’re living good you get good, if you’re living bad you get bad. I don’t make my decisions when it comes down to what I’m going to do the day of the fight. So I don’t know–maybe, maybe not, we’ll see.
Do you take into account the physical factors like temperature, humidity and climate and how they might affect the outcome of your fight?
Newton: I never really thought about that. The ring we were in with Joey Beltran was really cold, it was an ice rink. I guess if you go out there and you’re not warmed up or too warmed up it can affect you. I know altitude affects you, so if altitude affects you I’m sure the hot and cold of the arena would affect you too.
You have a very deceptive fighting technique. You try to bait guys in close by exposing your back and cut dangerous angles in the arena. Where did you develop your fighting style?
Newton: I first started getting into a Taekwondo style from my trainer Robert Dremmel. He’s a taekwondo guy, so he’s the one that really got me into the spinning strikes and stuff like that. Him and my trainer Arnold Chon, another Taekwondo guy, helped me by the grace of God. I’m blessed by the universe. I get all these people that are perfect for the style that I’m making for myself. That and like Bruce Lee says, “the best style is no style.” I just make up what works for me. What works for me is spinning strikes. I always tell people it doesn’t matter where I’m at in the ring, I’m gonna be dangerous. So whether I give you my back or if I’m standing straight in front of you, I like to keep that deceptive, unorthodox, hard to reach style. I think that’s what’s been really winning my fights.
One of your earliest coaches was Paul Herrera. What foundational principles did he give you that you still use today?
Newton: He really helped me with my ground and pound and my cage technique because I was really green when I first met him. He taught me how to use the cage, how to cage walk and how to take a guy down off the cage. He also taught me how to use close quarter elbows and he gave me a lot of good energy when I was coming up at the time. I didn’t really have a place to stay or anything at that time, so I would stay at his house. I jumped around a lot and he fed me and gave me a job. If it wasn’t for that man starting me out, I don’t know if I would be in this position today.
Did he give you the nickname “The Hardcore Kid?” How did you earn the nickname?
Newton: No, that came from the music I listen to. I listen to hardcore music so that’s why I’m called “the hardcore kid.”
Linton Vassel has good striking technique and exceptional ground work. How are you preparing for his ground game?
Newton: I’m pretty sure Linton’s gonna try to wrestle me because his past 3 Bellator wins have come by submission. He’s more the submission type in his mind right now, so I’m sure he’s gonna come out there and try to do a lot more grappling, but I’m good everywhere. I come from a wrestling base and the majority of my wins are still by submission so if we’re gonna scramble, I’m ready for that too.
You manage to be a really smooth, fluid and relaxed fighter. How do you shut everything else out and get into the zone when you’re in a fight?
Newton: When you step into the ring, it’s 80% mental and 20% physical. You have guys that are absolute monsters in the gym, but they step into the ring and fall apart and it’s like what the f*** happened? I think you have to have a very strong mind. I think that the reason my mind is so strong now is because of the connection that I’ve made between myself and the universe–understanding my thinking and my fingerprints–the protons, neutrons, and electrons that control my body. I think that understanding makes it easier for me to keep myself calm and stay collected to always stand in front of my opponents.
Do you practice meditation or yoga to mentally prepare for a fight?
Newton: Meditation is key. I’m quiet and I’m always praying and meditating. Sometimes I’ll go and get grounded at the beach and I’ll walk in the sand and go swimming in the water. I’ve come into a better understanding of this body, what I call a “fleshbot.” Everybody’s so stimulated by TV, cell phones or music but I don’t let those things affect me. I used to run with headphones and listen to music but I don’t run with my headphones anymore. If I’m at home and just sitting on the couch, sometimes I just lay down, relax and just calm my mind. I just receive the thoughts that the universe wants to give me because any thoughts of the flesh are going to be improper. I tend not to pay attention to my thoughts of the flesh and listen to the thoughts of my spirit. Like I say to people, we’re smart in the flesh and dumb in the spirit.
You’re clearly very confident about Friday’s Fight. Is there anything about Linton Vassel that makes you pause for even a moment?
Newton: He’s tough man. He’s big, he’s strong. He’s got good striking and grappling but when it comes down to it, is he me? Is he thinking like I am? No. It’s not so much like “I’m giving back to the people,” I’m giving back to the universe. I’m giving back to what we’re truly supposed to give back to. I’m giving back to helping the world rotate, helping planets give off the heat they’re supposed to and making the water flow how it’s supposed to. We’re walking beacons of energy that connect to the universe to make things right, but nothing’s right right now you know? Everything is a**backwards because of the programming of the flesh, but I’m a beacon and I’m on full charge. I’m fully loaded and it doesn’t matter who steps in the ring with me, it doesn’t matter who you are. There’s been plenty of times where an underdog has come out on top. Not only am I an underdog, I’m an underdog who understands the way things are and the way things should be.
Catch Newton vs. Vassel on Spike TV on Friday, October 24th at 9/8C