by MMAWeekly Radio & Jeff Cain
Joe ‘Diesel’ Riggs once weighed 300 pounds. He’s competed in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as a heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, and made his debut as a welterweight at UFC 55: ‘Fury’ last weekend against the tough Chris ‘Lights Out’ Lytle. He’s had success in every weight class he’s fought in. His MMA resume includes winning the Rage in the Cage Heavyweight and Middleweight Championships, the Art of War Heavyweight Championship, Evolution Combat Heavyweight Championship, and the XCF Light-Heavyweight title.
Riggs’ weight loss story is enough to make Jared from the Subway commercials jealous. From when he first emerged on the MMA scene to making weight for his UFC 55 bout with Lytle, Joe Riggs had lost the equivalent of a lightweight boxer’s heftiness, 135lbs. And at the very least he’s lost the mass of a boxing junior lightweight who tip the scales at 130.
When it was announced that Joe Riggs would drop down yet another weight class to take on Chris Lytle at 170 the first thought that entered my mind was can Joe Riggs even make 170? He did, but it wasn’t easy. “It was pretty hard man. It hurt, I’ll tell you that. It hurt pretty bad,” Riggs told MMAWeekly. He added, “I took that 170 fight like three weeks before. I had like three weeks to start cutting, so I didn’t do it right. I felt really drained for the fight because I usually will cut down to about like 180 or something and I was cutting from like 190.”
Riggs weighed 190 when he arrived in Connecticut and had to shed twenty pounds to make the welterweight 170lb. limit. That’s a lot of weight to cut even for seasoned fighters who have weight cutting down to a science. Heading into the fight Joe said, “I was pretty worried to be honest with you because like I said we didn’t have enough time to cut the proper weight. Billy Rush is the man when it comes to that stuff, but we didn’t have enough time. I was feeling drained and stuff, so I was a little worried. It affected my fighting. I thought I fought like shit, but I won.”
Riggs defeated Lytle in his welterweight debut at the two minute mark of the second round by TKO, the first time Chris Lytle has ever been stopped in his 37 fight MMA career. ‘Diesel’ spoke with MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio about whether he’ll stay at welterweight or move back up to the middleweight division, and who he’d like to fight next.
“I’ll still fight at 170. I’ll just do it smarter this time. I’m going out to Utah next week to start training with Rich [Franklin] and Jeremy [Horn] for their fights. You know, just work on keeping my weight down and never get above 190,” Riggs commented.
Asked if he’ll be staying at welterweight, moving back up to middleweight, or bouncing between the two, Joe answered, “I’d like to do both to be honest with you. Outside the UFC, I still want to fight outside on other shows because I like to fight a lot…I don’t like fighting once or twice a year. That’s not my deal. I don’t get paid a lot of money like the other guys. I would like to fight 185 outside of the UFC, and I’d like to fight Chris Leben.”
Riggs continued, “I think it would be a good fight for the fans. He’s a tough guy. He can take a lot of punishment, and I think it would be fun for everyone watching him get punched a lot of times. I think it would be good. He’s a good fighter too. He shocked me when he submitted my buddy Edwin [Dewees]. He called me out after the fight…so I think it would be a fun fight.”
Joe Riggs considers himself a UFC welterweight, but will accept certain fights in the middleweight division. He stated, “I’m not going to be a big 185 pounder if I do fight. That’s why I’m not going to fight the top 185 pounders. The highest I’ll go is 185, but I’m not to fight top 185 pounders.” Riggs went on to say that he’ll remain around 190 if he fights again as a middleweight to stay within his range to cut and make 170.
Although Riggs vs Leben may be a middleweight match that will happen, expect to see more of Joe Riggs the welterweight.