by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Joe “Diesel” Riggs will be moving back up to the middleweight division to take on Mike “Quick” Swick this weekend at UFC 60. Riggs recently spoke with MMAWeekly Radio about his upcoming bout with Swick, and his plans to move back to the welterweight division following this Saturday night’s match-up.
Discussing the advantages that he believes he has over Swick, Riggs said, “I’m more physical than he is. I’m stronger. These are all my assumptions. I’ve never wrestled the guy or things like that. This is what I think [from] watching his fights… I think he probably has the edge on speed a little bit, but I think I probably have more power than he does. That’s my opinion.”
Riggs continued, “I think my wrestling is better than his, and my ground and pound. I think my stand-up is technically better than his. We’re going to trade on the feet the whole fight, I believe. I think I have a little bit more tools than he does, and the fact that I’m more seasoned than he is. I can’t say for him how long it takes for him to get comfortable in the Octagon, but he’s got three quick fights against three not-so-good opponents. I’ve had five fights against five tough fighters. I’ve been in there with the best, so I think I’m more seasoned than he is.”
Swick and Riggs both have all-star camps to prepare them for combat. Riggs told MMAWeekly, “I’ve got Billy Rush. I’ve got John Alessio, who is an absolute stud. We’ve got Jay Hieron, who is also a stud. Both of those guys… I’ve never trained with them before, until a couple of months ago, and they’re just studs. I didn’t think they were as good as they are. Obviously they’re good, but they’re just amazing. Joe Stevenson is down here, Jorge Gurgel is down here… Edwin Dewees, obviously Jeremy Horn, Mike Whitehead. We’ve got a good camp down here.”
While in Utah, Riggs has been sharing living quarters with Billy Rush, Jay Hieron, and John Alessio.
When asked if he feels that he is in a must-win situation with this fight, Riggs replied, “I go in there with every fight being a must-win situation. Losing a fight is not an option for me, but at the same time, it’s not the end of the world. Anybody can come back from a loss. Look at Phil Baroni. Look at what he’s doing now. Anybody is always one win away from being the next big thing. By all means, I don’t plan on losing this fight.”
Riggs fought in the UFC as a welterweight last October, defeating Chris Lytle by TKO He was slated to take on UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes at UFC 56 last November, but Riggs failed to make weight. The fight took place as a non-title bout, and Riggs lost to Hughes via submission.
Riggs successfully cut down to 170 pounds for his most recent fight, which was a decision victory over Nick Diaz at UFC 57 in February.
Regardless of the outcome of this Saturday’s middleweight bout against Mike Swick, Riggs plans to return to 170 pounds for his next fight.
Joe told MMAWeekly, “I don’t base my decision off a win or a loss. I’m going in there to win this fight. I know for a fact I’m going to win this fight, not because Swick is isn’t a tough guy… I’m just ready for this fight. I’m mentally ready. The main thing is, I’m more mentally ready than I ever have been. My head is a big part of my fight, and my head is strong right now. It’s good.”
Riggs added, “[I'm not] knocking Swick. He’s a real tough guy. I’m not overlooking him one bit. I’ve been down here in Utah for four or five weeks training my butt off, and being away from my family and friends. I’ve trained hard for this fight. I’m just really ready for this one. No knock against my opponent, but I am going down to 170 after this fight win, lose, or draw.”
Regarding his current weight and the process of weight-cutting, Riggs said, “I’m 188 right now. I’ve learned to cut weight. It’s not near as hard [as it was]… it’s my body adjusting to the weight class. I did all this work, so I’m not going to… I’m not like a lot of people. I don’t take a lot of Human Growth Hormone or whatnot, or steroids. I don’t try to pack on the weight. I’m all natural… where my body goes, that is where I’ll let it go. It wants to go to 170, so that is fine.”
Although he was weighing 188 pounds when the interview was conducted, “Diesel” expects to be around 190 pounds come fight time. While Riggs said that his body “wants to go to 170,” it has to fight at 185 first, and his future as a UFC welterweight could very well depend on his performance this Saturday as a middleweight.
Riggs closed out the interview by saying, “It’s going to be exciting. I can’t wait.”