Exclusive Interview: Joe Riggs

By Percy Crawford


Exclusive Interview: Joe Riggs

Riggs talks Diego Sanchez fight and says f*** Matt Hughes!

PC: How is training going for your fight against Diego Sanchez on December 13th?

JR: It’s going real good. I’m getting myself in the best shape possible and it’s going good. I’m in great shape.

PC: Diego definitely wants the fight to go to the ground, but you like to stand and have the heavier hands. Would you be cool with the fight going to the ground or would you rather keep it standing?

JR: I think my advantage is on the feet, but it’s mixed martial arts, you know? Where ever the fight goes, I’m prepared to fight there. If it goes to the ground, so be it. I’ll just work to get back to my feet. But if he tries to clinch me, I’ll put him on his back because I’m a better wrestler than he is.

PC: You jumped all over Jason Von Flue in your last fight. Will you try and set a similar pace against Diego?

JR: Diego is really a different fighter than Von Flue. I’m going to fight, but I’m not going to push anything. Wherever the fight goes, I’ll take it from there. He’s such a good fighter, you have to take whatever he gives you. I don’t want to make a mistake.

PC: Nick Diaz called Diego a product of the reality show. What do you think of Diego as an opponent and what do you feel his weaknesses are?

JR: I view Diego as a very good fighter. I think his strengths are his ground game and his wrestling. His best attribute is he’s always in such great condition. He has a very high confidence level. He never thinks he’s going to lose.

PC: What would giving him his first loss mean to you and what would you like to do next if you defeat him?

JR: When I defeat Diego, I’d obviously be looking at a title shot. I want to fight Matt Hughes again. I don’t like that guy. I tried to like the guy. I tried hard to like him because he’s involved with people I’m good friends with. I like a lot of guys out of the Miletich camp, Tim Sylvia, Pat and Robbie, all of those guys are really good guys and he’s just a dick. He had never met my wife before. He was down in Phoenix a couple of days ago because he’s good friends with my sponsor. He comes down and I introduce him to my wife and he’s like, “Hey, sorry I had to beat your husband up!” My wife had never met him before. It’s cool to joke around like that, but that’s my fucking wife. It kind of touched my pride and it really fucking pissed me off. I was cheering for him when he fought B.J. Penn just because I love the guy who he’s with an shit, but you know? He’s a disrespectful muthafucka; fuck him!

PC: How is training at the N.E.S.T. and who are some of the guys you’re training with?

JR: It’s great. That’s the New Era Sports Training facility. I’m training with Din Thomas, Chris Lytle and Shonie Carter. They just left last week for their fight. Karo Parisyan is coming down next week and Dean Lister is coming down this week. Din Thomas is coming back also and one of my best friends in the world, Edwin Dewees, is coming in too. I have some really good guys in here.

PC: Looking back at the Hughes fight, what do you think you did wrong and do you think you showed him too much respect?

JR: By far I showed him too much respect. He gave me ample enough time to get back to my feet. I stopped 3 of his take downs and I hit him with a good right hook. I gave him too much time to get into his groove. I shouldn’t have had any respect for him and fight him like he was everybody else. He was the champion, so you have to give him respect, but he’s a man and he could be knocked out like anybody else.

PC: I have to ask you, how the hell do you make 170 pounds?

JR: It’s hard. I actually walk around right now at 190. My body is getting adjusted to it and I’m feeling better. It’s good, I’m happy. A couple of months ago I was like 210, but my weights doing great right now.

PC: Was it true that you gained 30 pounds overnight before the Nick Diaz fight and if so, how much longer can your body take that?

JR: I didn’t gain 30 pounds. Billy Rush, who I used to work with a lot, used to pride himself on how much weight I would lose. For some crazy reason he used to take credit for that. I was the one dying in the sauna and he used to take credit for my weight loss. He used to go tell Joe Rogan I gained 30 pounds, just to get his name mentioned on T.V. I’ve gained 20 something pounds back which is a lot of weight, but nothing crazy.

PC: You used to fight at over 300 pounds. What made you want to compete in the lower weight classes and how did you start the process of burning the weight off?

JR: The more serious I got with my training, the weight just kept coming off. It just kept coming down. The closer I got to 220 I thought I could make light heavyweight and then Middleweight and so on. It was a slow process. If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I would fight at 170, I would’ve laughed at you.

PC: Thanks for taking time out of training to speak with me. Anything you want to say in closing?

JR: Just thank my gym, New Era Sports Training facility and Todd Johnson.


Send questions and comments to: nardfan@bellsouth.com