Friday, February 16, 2007

Takedowns and knockouts

For Carlos Newton, career goals shaped up pretty early.

“My stepfather was a black belt in karate,” Newton tells The Sunday Paper. “I started martial arts when I was 4 or 5 years old, and I turned pro when I was 18.”

These days, the one-time UFC Welterweight World Champion is a coach and fighter for the Toronto Dragons in the upstart International Fight League (IFL), where he’s known as “The Ronin.” The nickname makes sense: He’s an intelligent fighter—which is another way of saying that he manages to defeat larger opponents and make it look easy.

As a successful mixed martial arts fighter, Newton has competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Pride Fighting Championship. More recently, he jumped into the ring with the IFL, a league he thinks is on the cutting edge of the sport.

“The IFL is revolutionizing our sport with the team concept,” he says (Newton’s Dragons are inspired by his favorite anime cartoon). “It’s great being able to compete as part of a team in mixed martial arts. It brings a stable format to the sport, giving regions a local rooting interest, like traditional team sports.”

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