Bellator MMA announced on Monday that former UFC welterweight Matthew Riddle had been signed to the organization to long term deal and will be making his debut in the season nine welterweight tournament.
After being released from the UFC earlier this year, Riddle signed with Legacy Fighting Championship but never had a fight in the organization.
Riddle (7-3, 2NC) appeared on Monday’s edition of “The MMA Report Live” and explained how he ended up in Bellator.
“Legacy called me first and offered me a pretty good deal but Bellator called me after that and talked to Legacy and made me an even better deal,” Riddle said.
While negotiating his Bellator contract, Riddle asked to be in the Bellator welterweight tournament right from the beginning since it has been a dream for him to be place in a MMA tournament like Pride and Bellator.
It’s unknown who Riddle will face in the opening round of the season nine tournament and he doesn’t care how he faces first.
“I don’t care who they give me first. They can give me Paul Daley, they can give me [Ben] Saunders, they can give me [Douglas] Lima. There is a lot of tough guys and even if they bring in new guys, they are usually undefeated. Anybody is a tough fight and I am ready to go.”
The Bellator welterweight division is one of the better divisions in Bellator and Riddle has his sights set on the Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren.
“I think they are good. There is a lot of good strikers and jiu-jitsu practitioners. I don’t see another strong welterweight wrestler besides myself in the division besides other than Askren. That’s why I think [Jay] Hieron was able to dominate and get to the finals and fight Askren. I think I’ll also have the tools to beat everybody in the tournament and get to the finals and I think I will beat Askren. I think I have what it takes.”
Askren has been the Bellator champion since he defeated Lyman Good at Bellator 33 and has made several title defenses since winning the title. He is known for his wresting ability but Riddle believes there is gaps in the rest of his game.
“His wrestling is top notch. If he gets ahold of a leg, he is really good, very technical. He doesn’t waste energy and just gets you down to the ground. I can’t say anything bad about him. I think he has a lot of gaps in the rest of his game and I think that was where I would have to exploit and just stop the takedown and knock him out.”
Bellator was able to sign Riddle because of his recent positive drug test for marijuana and the fighter admitted that he smoked today. However, he will stop smoking today because he is expecting to get drug tested in his next fight.
“I am going to quick smoking pot for a couple of months before I fight. Actually, I smoked today but I am probably not going to smoke after today because I am pretty sure I am going to get drug tested. Bellator does drug test. I have heard people say they don’t but from what I have been told and for what I understand, I will be drug tested frequently.”
He does have a medical marijuana license but never intended to test positive it and believes no one should fight under the influence.
“Bottom line is I do have a medical license and all that. Bottom line is I never my intention to fail one drug test, let alone two and I would not want to go into the fight under the influence or anything like that. I do like the fact that they do test and you should be fighting clean and that includes guys who are on TRT or anything else. Nobody should be fighting anything.”
“This is what upsets me the most about the rules. The rules are not there to make money, make people successful, or make someone better than the other person. The rules are there to keep the fighter safe. I understand if you don’t want fighters using marijuana or another other controlled substance. I understand that. How are you going to let a fighter take a performance enhancing drug that is known if you didn’t have a prescription for it, you would fail and they would fire or fine you. But if you have a prescription for it, it’s ok and then guys like Vitor [Belfort] at 36 or whatever are making a huge comeback and are ten times more shredded then they have ever been.”
The Ultimate Fighter Alum admitted that he has trained with people who are on TRT and HGH. He believes the reason that fighters that HGH is because it can not be tested for and a high percentage of fighters are on HGH.
“I’m probably out of one hundred percent, I’m probably ten percent out of the one hundred that is not on HGH at a professional MMA level. I would have to believe that everyone else has used at one point or another or uses it constantly.”