This weekend, at Bellator 113, Emanuel Newton and Atilla Vegh will rematch their hotly contested split decision from Bellator 72. That night, Vegh defeated Newton in very controversial fashion in the tournament semi-finals. This weekend, there is a lot more on the line as the two men will unite the Bellator Light Heavyweight titles in the main event of the evening.
I had the opportunity to sit down with interim champion, Newton to discuss his upcoming bout with Vegh, the possibility of fighting Rampage, not dealing with trash talking, and a lot more.
How are you feeling going into Friday night?
I am feeling awesome. No injuries, everything is good, training camp went great. I am ready to go in there and put on a spectacular show.
His thoughts on Atilla Vegh
I feel like I am the champion, I fought the best that Bellator has to throw at me. I am not taking anything away from Atilla, but I don’t think he is the best in Bellator right now. I think he was, but I don’t think he is now. I know with my training that I am a better fighter and I am ready to get this done. I am going to take that belt and nobody will take it from me.
Why he lost their first fight
I was a completely different fighter and individual. My lifestyle was different then too. I was in a different camp, banging it out in sparring and such. Since then I have totally changed and revamped myself. I switched camps, I have different trainers, I train differently, I eat and think differently. The first fight against Atilla was not my time. If I could go back and change it I wouldn’t. If I had beaten Vegh, I would have won the belt by defeating M’Pumbu, and then King Mo would have came in and beat the crap out of me. I was not a championship fighter then, but now I am. I am a night and day different fighter.
His game plan this Friday night
With Atilla I can go anywhere. With Mo it was different because I knew he wanted to take me down because he is a good wrestler. This game plan is different because I am comfortable anywhere. I definitely want to knock him out, and I think that will happen. At the same time I still have my takedowns, submissions, ground and pound, so I can take this fight anywhere. That is all you hope for going into a fight, and especially into a championship fight.
Is it easier to fight without dealing with trash talking?
It’s easier for me. With trash talking it’s just more work that I have to do. With trash talking, people in interviews are always asking ‘Oh Mo said this and that!’, but I really don’t care. I am just a martial artist, and I prefer respect; the way of the samurai. Talking trash and trying to get under my skin is not going to work because in the long run, you will have to step in the cage against me and all that trash talking will go out the window when I am punching you in the face.
Nerves of supreme confidence?
I have supreme confidence. I think the only time nerves get to me are in the background or when you are getting ready to walk out to the cage. The second I step into that cage and feel the mat under my feet, I take a deep breath and say ‘OK, this is familiar’. It is like riding a bike.
His pick for Rampage Jackson vs King Mo
I train with Rampage, so I am doing everything we can to get him ready for that fight. I see Rampage winning. I see Mo trying to take him down and not being successful in doing so. If Mo does get the takedown I am sure Rampage will get back up because I did. Once it’s back to the feet it will become a boxing match because neither of them throw kicks. We will probably have Rampage throw more kicks just to knock Mo off his game a little bit. Mo will start swinging wild, Rampage will cover and roll and knock his a** out with a hook.
The possibility of fighting Rampage
Ya of course we have spoken about it. This is business when it comes down to it. There is no bad blood. It is all about being a professional, and being a Mixed Martial Artist. Our jobs are to go out there and put on a show.
His desire to become the face of the Light Heavyweight division in Bellator
100%. I definitely want to make a statement. I don’t think any Light Heavyweight in the world fights like me. No one has my style, my range, my walk with god that I have. I think I am completely and totally different. I am a new breed and I will prove that on Friday.