There is an almost universal urge for unity. Most humans seem to want their soulmate, and so do a lot of animals. When we want to get away, we say want to be “one with nature.” And physicists all around the world dream of being the one who discovers the unifying principle. This weekend, Bellator interim light heavyweight champion Emanuel “The Hardcore Kid” Newton’s mission is to unify the belt.

The interim title came with a fair amount of controversy. Ever since Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal joined Bellator, it seems he was to be the promotion’s next star. But Attila Vegh and Emanuel Newton had other plans. First, Newton eliminated Lawal from the light heavyweight tournament with a spinning back fist. Then, Vegh went on to win the light heavyweight belt by defeating Christian M’Pumbu.

Newton (R) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Newton (R) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Vegh, according to Bellator, was unable to defend his belt, and so the promotion set up an interim title fight between Newton and King Mo. This time, Newton went the distance and beat Lawal via unanimous decision. This set the stage for the rematch between Newton and Vegh scheduled for this Friday at Bellator 113.

“It’s more than just a belt. When I win I will be more than just a champ,” said Newton in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “Yes, it will bring me more fame and fortune, but what it really means is I will be able to take care of my family and friends, to help other people become better. That’s why I will win.”

Not only does Newton fight for his friends and family, but he also fights for God.

“Some people just think of God as a goody two-shoes. Yes, he is merciful and good, but some people think that is boring, that he is boring, but he’s not. He has given me a means to provide for my family doing something that I love,” mused Newton. “There is also the Old Testament God, the vengeful side of him. The world is messed up; the enemy is everywhere. Sometimes I think the enemy spends more time in the church trying to lead the faithful astray. People get prideful. They spend money on things they can’t afford, and that is bad. That is what the enemy wants. He doesn’t want you to be able to provide for your family.”

“I see folks that struggle their whole lives. They’ve never turned their lives over to God—never put their trust in the Lord. They need to turn their trust and lives over to the Lord. My life is a testament to that,” he preached. “God is real. God gave me the strength and training and set me on the path to be a fighter. Sure, we are fighting, but it’s a sport. We’re gladiators, and we do this to provide for our family and keep a roof over our heads.”

Newton has won 11 fights by stoppage and 11 by decision. His seven losses are almost as even. He has been finished three times and lost by decision four times, including a controversial split decision to Vegh in the semifinals of Bellator’s 2012 Summer Series tournament. He plans on adding to his list of wins by finish when the belt is unified.

Newton (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Newton (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“My style is different. I fight different, I punch different, I kick different,” Newton explained. “The Heavenly Father made me stronger and has put me in a position to win. I plan on doing things that no one has seen before. My coaches and trainers are preparing me. I plan on overwhelming Vegh in the first round. I am going to push the pace and get in his face. I am already in his head. Now it’s time for me to show who is the better fighter. I want to finish this fight in the first round. I want to put him down on the ground.”

And after he wins the belt? What does Newton see when he looks into the future?

“I hope to be the champ and to have to defend it from my friend, [Quinton] ‘Rampage’ [Jackson],” Newton replied. “If Mo were to win, of course I would fight him again. But I don’t see that happening. Rampage is a better fighter. He is my friend—we train together, and to have us face each other in the cage would be a great fight. It would be good for me, good for Jackson, good for the fans and good for Bellator. We push each other to be better athletes and better men for God. This would be a true test for us—test our strength and our hearts.”

It’s clear that Newton fights for more than just the championship and for more than just himself. When the door closes and that bell rings, the student, friend and father will give his all and leave nothing to chance, even while he puts his trust in God.

Emanuel would like to thank coach Antonio McKee for pushing him further than ever before, Arnold Chong for being a boss and helping him improve every day, and Robert Driml, his kicking coach—“I throw more kicks than almost anyone in MMA because of you.” Newton would like to thank his sponsors: 3 Lyttle Byrds and Grounded Athletics. He would especially like to thank his daughter, Helena. Follow Newton on Twitter: @Emanuel_Newton

About The Author

Staff Writer

Amber currently resides in Tampa, Fla., a hotbed of MMA. She was introduced to the sport Memorial Day weekend in 2006 and quickly became addicted. Amber loves the fact that the biggest and strongest don’t always win, the respect the competitors show and that women are finally getting their shot. She also writes a blog for Fight It Out gear. When not watching MMA, Amber can be found at the beach playing volleyball, in the gym learning from Tampa’s only female BJJ Black Belt, cheering on her eight-year-old daughter in tae kwon do, or at her day job. She has a girlfriend, daughter, too many dogs and a cat who lives in the attic. Communication highly encouraged at amber at fightitout dot com.