Q & A with Joe “Diesel” Riggs

By Nick Portella

Good day fight fans I hope you are doing well. Today I have the chance to catch up with a true veteran in the MMA world. Not only have he won titles in multiple promotions, he has recently become a Bare Knuckle Boxing champion. Let’s sit down with Joe “Diesel” Riggs and see what he has to say.

Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?

Joe: To me being a prize fighter is something special. Because it’s all I focused on since I was 10. And I grew up and accomplished it. And I know how rare it is.

Nick: What disciplines do you train and what belts do you hold in them?

Joe: I train boxing , kickboxing , BJJ, wrestling, and Judo. I have a black belt in BJJ and In Judo. I’m a 2 time wrestling all American. And I have a record of 10-1 in pro boxing.

Nick: What made you decide to pursue fighting as a career?

Joe: I pursued fighting as a career because it’s all I thought about as a child. And everything I did as a child was to gear me for my career.

Nick: You carry the nickname Diesel how did you get it? Who gave it to you?

Joe: Well my nickname Diesel comes from my last name Riggs. A Rig is a Diesel.

Nick: How long have you been with MMA Lab?

Joe: I first trained at the MMA Lab 5 years ago. At the time my career wasn’t doing well and I needed a team. When I went there I met Benson Henderson who is the best man I’ve ever had the privilege meeting, and I told myself I was going to do everything that Ben did in the gym. So when I did that my career took off. I won 15 in a row if you count the fights on the Bellator show. I left after my most recent UFC fight. I love the team, but the the Coach John Crouch talked behind everyone’s back making a bad environment to train in.

Nick: What is your greatest attributes in the octagon? What is your greatest weakness?

Joe: My strength as a fighter is my ability to end the fight with 1 punch. No matter how it is going. My weakness used to be on some fights I would have a mental block and not even try to win. That’s behind me know.

Nick: What’s your favorite strike/submission to use in any fight?

Joe: My favorite thing to use in my fights is landing my right hook. If I put them on there back, nobody has the ground and pound I do.

Nick: Every fighter has something unique about them. What do you think is the most unique part of your fight game?

Joe:  What’s unique about my fight game is it doesn’t matter where the fight is taking place or who is winning or if I’m tired. I’m always 1 shot away from ending the fight because I have crazy power in both hands. Standing up or on the ground.

Nick: Cutting weight and fighter safety always is becoming more and more of a priority. What methods of cutting weight do you use? How much weight do you usually have to cut before a fight? Do you feel the weight cut has a major impact on your strength before a fight?

Joe: I cut weight by spending 10 minutes in a hot tub. The putting plastics on and jog 1 mile then walk at a high pace walk for 1 hour. And that always gets me where need to be. The day of the fight if I had to be at 185 the day before. I’ll be 200 lbs fight day, and cutting that much weight and putting that much back on isn’t good for me at all. I can definitely feel it.

Nick: You have an amazing record in mixed martial arts.  An astonishing 42 wins with only 17 defeats. You have been a champion and fought in every major circuit including Bellator and UFC. What made you switch over to bare knuckle boxing?

Joe:  Winning the titles from the W.E.C, Bellator and Strikeforce are all the biggest things I’ve accomplished in my sport, but I had always wanted to fight in a Bare knuckle fight. So when the opportunity came around and I took it and wanted to fight for a belt while I was doing it. 1 more thing to check off the list.

Nick: How hard was it to transition from the MMA world to the bare knuckle boxing world?

Joe:  Going from MMA to Bare Knuckle wasn’t to hard to transition to because mma gloves are like a wrapped hand. And I’ve been boxing all my life.


Nick: What is next for you in the fight world?  Any chance of seeing you back in the octagon?

Joe:  I have some things in the works right now, but April 8th I fight Ryan Macahn in Calgary. If the UFC offered me a new contract I would decline them. The way things were going before I left and from what I’m told the way it’s going now doesn’t sound fun.

Nick:  If you could have one dream fight with anyone, who would it be?  Why?

Joe:  If there was one fight I wish I would have gotten would be Chris Leben. That would have been a fight fans fight.

Joe is one of the MMA greats with a record to prove it.  I had a great time talking with him and wish him the best in whatever he does next. I’m sure it will be exciting. Have a great day fans.


Nick Portella


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