Newly Crowned XFC Lightweight Champion Scott Holtzman Discusses Life With The Belt,The Former Champ Who “Ran” From Him
By Timothy Gilbert
XFC champion Scott Holtzman hasn’t been fighting long for the amount of success he has already achieved. His first professional fight was held a little over one year ago on February 10, 2012, but already the 29 year old has racked up wins in all five of his professional matches and claimed the vacant lightweight belt.
It’s a belt that was abandoned after Nick Newell refused to face Holtzman. Something he feels was to protect Newell’s rapidly growing reputation.
“I think he ran from me, without a doubt,” he said. “I think he made a business decision. He saw himself as a 9-0 fighter fighting a dangerous 4-0 fighter.”
Newell, a congenital amputee who lacks a fully developed left hand and forearm, refused to defend his belt against Holtzman at XFC 24 to pursue his goal of fighting bigger name opponents and making his way into the UFC. As a result, Newell was stripped of his title leaving a vacant position for Holtzman and Mahlow to fight for.
Newell has since signed with the World Series of Fighting.
Even though Newell’s actions could be taken as an insult, Holtzman views it more as a representation of Newell as a fighter.
“Obviously, I’m happy for him moving up,” he said
“I’m not mad at him for it. That’s business, that’s the fight game; people try to protect their career. But I’ve always fought everyone they ever put in front of me,” he said.
Only one of Holtzman’s matches has gone the full three rounds, and that was when he took a decision win from Jason Hicks at XFC 22. He has finished his remaining four opponents within the first two rounds. And yet, he still openly acknowledges that there is much more to learn.
“I’m still new to the spot, but I’m also such an athlete that I’m able to grow and evolve between each fight,” Holtzman said.
He may speak humbly of his path to the top and it may have only been a battle for a vacant t belt, but even if Nick Newell had stuck around Holtzman feels the result would have been similar.
“I would have beat him worse than I beat Mahlow,” he said
Before fighting, Holtzman devoted much of his life to hockey, spending some time playing professionally for the Knoxville Ice Bears. When he failed to truly excel at hockey, he resorted to working a desk job. Unhappy with his situation, he decided to start practicing MMA.
“I was sitting in a cubicle, talking on a phone and on the internet all day and it kind of drove me crazy. I had a friend that did MMA, so I decided to try it as an outlet,” he said.
It’s been over a month since he claimed the championship belt.
“I felt like I failed in hockey, and that’s kind of one of those things that drives me now in MMA,” he said.
“That led me to where I am now.”
He defeated John Mahlow via second round TKO on June 14 to claim the vacant lightweight belt. He is still waiting for his next opponent to be announced, and yet no matter how long he is forced to wait, Holtzman is confident his performance won’t be affected.
“I think I’m always well prepared. I stay in good shape. I always have good cardio. I think cardio is one of my strengths,” he said. “They’re never going to catch me on a night where I’m out of shape, and sucking wind mid-way through the first round. It’s never going to be like that.”
“I’m always training.”
Training, which he is constantly adjusting and improving. Holtzman claims to consistently work on all aspects of his game, mixing up training partners in an attempt to grow as a fighter.
“I spent the last camp out at the MMA Lab in Glendale, with Benson (Henderson) Jamie Varner and Joe Riggs,” he said. “I’m about to start a strength and conditioning camp with Ovince St. Preux.”
Intelligent training and an intense desire to work are all of what, he claims, contributed to the success he has achieved thus far. However, there is more work to be done.
“It’s really just another stepping stone,” he said. “At the end of the day there’s a lot of stuff I still want to do.”
One of those things is a fight against top lightweight contender Eric Reynolds. Reynolds previously fought for the vacant lightweight title against Nick Newell, where he was submitted in the first round.
“I’ve always kinda wanted to fight Eric Reynolds. It’s a good fight. It’s a good step for me,” he said.
“I want to continue to climb the ladder and that’s the way to do it.”
Holtzman’s not afraid to fight the best competitors in the league as he looks to improve his reputation. He may be at the top of the division, but there is still much for him to prove.
“Just winning the XFC belt is not the end all be all for me.”
Holtzman’s next opponent has yet to be announced, but current top contenders Eric Reynolds and Roger Carroll appear to be next in line for a shot.
“I was maybe under the assumption that it would be Eric Reynolds, but I think there’s another guy that may be in line,” he said.
In the meantime, the XFC will host its next showing, XFC 25: Boiling Point, on September 6 at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The event will feature a strawweight title fight between Stephanie Eggink and Angela Magana and a welterweight bout between Dhiego Lima and Ricky Rainey.