Canada’s first UFC welterweight world champion Carlos Newton taught his tricks of the trade in Guelph on Saturday.
Fans geared up during an appearance by Newton at Guelph Family Martial Arts to learn from a person some call a pioneer of mixed martial arts (MMA).
“Martial arts wasn't as big as it is now. He was one of the first ones. Now obviously with UFC you see Conor McGregor and all these different guys and it's huge but I think he was one of the early ones,” said Guelph Family Martial Arts owner and international karate champion Nathan Skoufis.
Newton won the UFC Welterweight championship in 2001. He retired in 2010 and now is the owner and chief instructor of a mixed martial arts centre in Pickering called Newton MMA.
Guelph’s Skoufis is a fifth-degree black belt and winner of two world championship titles himself. He is now preparing to try and win a spot on the Canadian team for the 2020 Olympics.
“I think it's cool for people in Guelph to have him in our studio and them to get to see a different aspect,” said Skoufis of Newton.
“I had a great time. I know Sophie. Nathan and Sophie invited me down. I'm having a great time, said Newton.
Skoufis’s mom Sophie Skoufis is a fifth-degree black belt as well and has been the inspiration and driving force for Skoufis in his career.
When it comes to Newton teaching his practices, the principles of fighting are the most important to him.
“I hope they get the principles and transfer them to other areas of movement, thoughts and overall life,” said Newton.
Participants were able to improve their fighting techniques and learn new ones.
"It was very beneficial," said attendee Nicholas Mozuraitis, who said he was able to improve certain techniques such as grappling, a fighting technique that strategizes the fighter's position and allows a physical advantage over the opponent.
Attendees were overjoyed at the opportunity to pose holding the UFC belt with Carlos. He gladly autographed fighting photos of himself, helmets and shirts.