By the sheer nature of their occupation, fighters face a great deal of adversity during their careers. But Joe "Diesel" Riggs has faced more obstacles than most.
Riggs, a talented fighter who was ticketed for super stardom, has failed to live up to the expectations of many. Despite possessing an impressive career MMA record of 25-9, Riggs has been treading water since November 2005, posting a record of 2-3. Give him credit, though: The man known to many as "Diesel" has not been fed a steady diet of cupcakes, having fought the likes of Matt Hughes, Nick Diaz, Mike Swick, and Diego Sanchez over the course of his last five fights.
Riggs' struggle extends beyond tough recent losses to Hughes, Swick and Sanchez. This is a man who by his own admission once weighed 310 pounds. And it was just last summer when he and his wife had to endure a parent's worst nightmare: the death of their infant son. That would have sent most people into a tailspin, but not Riggs. After taking a few months off to mourn, he resumed the sport he loves and used it as a way to help him through the tragedy.
|Joe 'Diesel' Riggs once tipped the scales at 310 pounds. (UFC)|
Despite the increase in exposure for the WEC, the perception by many is that Riggs has been demoted, that he has been "farmed out" against his will. But that's hardly the case; Riggs made it clear that the move is one that he not only welcomed but asked for in hopes of jump starting his career. While the name of promotion he fights for has changed, his goal remains the same: to win a world title.
Q: March 24 will mark your WEC debut under Zuffa's ownership. Is this a move you welcomed or did Zuffa have to convince you?
JR: No man, I wanted it. I want to be in the premier organization in mixed martial arts. I welcomed it and I asked for it and I got it. I kind of threw a temper tantrum to get it, to be honest with you.
Q: What were some of your reasons for wanting to go from the UFC to the WEC?
JR: This organization is going to grow a lot. I see a lot of growth with it, and I see all the great fighters coming in, and I'm in this game to fight the best in the world and see what I got. And that's pretty much why I'm in the WEC.
Q: So you're looking at the WEC as a long-term home for you?
JR: I plan to be the world champ and stay the world champ and in becoming the WEC 185-pound champion being the best 185-pound champion in the world.
Q: So you're going to fight in the middleweight class?
JR: Yep. That's exactly what's going on.