Matt Riddle has mastered the fine art of working a pro wrestling crowd, but he's been working some of his former UFC colleagues as well.
Riddle made the jump from mixed martial arts to pro wrestling in 2014, and hasn't looked back since. However, one of his former potential foes, Dan Hardy, had choice words for Riddle when "Deep Waters" targeted Dan Hardy after Conor McGregor called pro wrestlers "messed up pussies." Hardy took exception to Riddle's comments and lashed out, but Riddle told Fightful.com on his Thursday podcast it was all a part of the plan.
"Of course I was working him. Same thing with Conor McGregor said something about pro wrestling, “working” all the wrestlers, and then I was talking to Blue Meanie, Brian [Heffron], and he was like, hey, you should get on that too, and I was like, alright, so I wrote Dan Hardy and had a bunch of haters coming at me, the thing is, some people get bent outta shape about it, and they’re supposed to, that is why we do stuff like that, but for us, as long as people are talking and there is discussion, then we are doing our jobs. I’m actually wrestling in England the 19th and 20th of December, and I was telling Dan [Hardy] I’ll be in England, come find me, I’ll be in your country, so you know, if he showed up, I’d probably smile and laugh, or maybe he would attack, who knows. He kind of doesn’t realize he’s a one trick pony, and I’m not going to toot my own horn, but if there are things that I want, and I want it really bad I get it. I have always wanted to be a pro wrestler, I have always wanted to be in UFC, I have always wanted to be in High Times [Magazine], there are always things that I wanted to be and reach a goal, and so far I am doing well." said Riddle.
Riddle hasn't fought in over two years, and isn't too keen on the idea of going back to MMA. That doesn't mean, however, that Riddle hasn't been given offers. He told us that sometimes he has to fight the urge to get in the cage again.
"I’ve actually been offered a few fights, and they are tempting," Riddle explained. "It’s tempting when someone waves $10,000 in front of you in your face for one night’s work, but then I had to think about all the days I had to train into a fight, and then I will have to cancel all my wrestling bookings because if I get hurt during my wrestling fights then that really wouldn’t be fair to the MMA promotion, so I’d probably do that, plus I would need to focus on a fight, so to be completely honest, probably not. Even when I was in UFC, I was winning fights and doing my thing, but the only reason why I did it was because I loved it, but it’s because it was a really easy job. I only worked three times a year and I got paid really good money, but the things I hated about fighting, and it sounds weird, but I really hated beating people. I hated beating people and then seeing them get paid half as much as me at least, they are going to get paid less money now, maybe they have something going at home and that’s going to f**k everything up, and then you know, on top of it, maybe they’ll lose their job because I dominated them, however, you know how the UFC is, if you don’t dominate they’ll just fire you. Honestly, I felt bad, it’s like, then you hear people talk crap, the things I love most about pro wrestling, you don’t have to worry about that. It doesn’t matter whether I win or lose a wrestling match, it’s all about how we work together, how the crowd reacts to us."
While Matt has found success crossing over from mixed martial arts to pro wrestling, others haven't been so lucky. King Mo Lawal, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Tito Ortiz all made unsuccessful trips to TNA Wrestling in 2013 when fighting for Bellator MMA. Still, Riddle thinks there are more than a few potential wrestling superstars in MMA.
"You know, I’ll be honest, most of them have great personalities," said Riddle. "I’ve seen Tom Lawlor, he likes professional wrestling as well; Even a Conor McGregor, but you probably realize this, most Fighters or Professional Boxers, or Muay Thai fighters, it’s not that they don’t have a personality, it’s just that their personality is more strong, they’re usually quiet and keep to themselves, and you know, they’re intent people, so granted, I still have that personality, but you also need that personality where you need to draw that emotional connection, that’s the biggest thing, being able to work with people, and having that connection, and being personable. I think that would be the hard part of Mixed Martial Artists. As an MMA Fighter, you don’t need to have any personality, you just be yourself and beat people up."
You can check out Matt Riddle every Thursday afternoon on the Fightful.com Podcast