Matt Riddle speaks out.
The former two-time PROGRESS Atlas Champion Matt Riddle is set to embark on his journey as a member of the WWE roster. Before Riddle begins with the sports-entertainment company, he has one more date left to fulfill on the independent scene which is PROGRESS Wrestling's 'Hello Wembley' show at the 'Wembley Arena' on September 30th which will be the biggest independent wrestling show in the United Kingdom in thirty years.
Prior to venturing off to the land of professional wrestling, Riddle earned himself a 8-3 MMA record with the majority of his fights taking place in the UFC. Riddle's time as a pro fighter in UFC was cut short as he was released by UFC President Dana White after Riddle failed a number of drug tests. Last weekend, Riddle addressed his firing by putting together a small montage of when Dana White explained during an interview why he let Riddle go from UFC and the clip ended with Riddle's appearance at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV last month as a symbol of, "I made it when nobody thought I would". Although things did not go as planned for the "Bromaster" in UFC, he does miss the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and keeps up with what's going on in the pro-fighting world. Riddle recently joined MMAJunkie Radio and stated that while he does miss the octagon, the sport is different from when he was fighting compared to how it is now.
"I do miss it,” Riddle said. “I watch the fights. I watched Tyron Woodley dominate this week. I feel bad for the fighters and I know exactly – things are a little different now – but I know my world when I was in MMA, everything was tough. Life was just so tough. Everything was a struggle, bills were a struggle. Even when you’re on top in the UFC, you only get paid a couple times a year. I’m just really glad to have that all behind me and focus on my craft.”
Riddle has found success in pro wrestling much like a number of other former pro fighters who have made the transition to wrestling or went from pro wrestling to the octagon. Names like Shayna Baszler, "Filthy" Tom Lawlor, Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock, Ronda Rousey and now Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir have joined that list. Riddle discussed the transition from the octagon to the squared circle and mentioned some of the names that are listed above who he considers to be people that have made that smooth transition.
“There’s a lot of people making the transition and doing it well,” Riddle said. “There are other guys that are doing great – and women – you’ve got Ronda and Shayna, Jessamyn Duke. You’ve got Tom Lawlor, you’ve got me. There’s a lot of guys like King Mo for example, who is a big fan of professional wrestling, world-class fighter, world-class athlete, but I don’t think he’s the greatest pro wrestler. It’s more than moves and athleticism. It’s that charisma.”
Riddle mentioned in the first quote that he watched Tyron Woodley retain his UFC Welterweight Championship last weekend at UFC 228. To read in detail about the main event fight between Woodley and Darren Till, head over to Fightful's live coverage article of the event.