Joe Riggs

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Joe Riggs
JoeRiggs.png
Born (1982-09-23) September 23, 1982 (age 31)
Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Other names Diesel
Nationality American
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 185.5 lb (84.1 kg; 13.25 st) 170
Division Heavyweight
Light Heavyweight
Middleweight
Welterweight (current)
Reach 70.5"
Stance Southpaw
Fighting out of Phoenix, Arizona
Team MMA Lab
Rank brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Years active 2001-present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 55
Wins 40
By knockout 20
By submission 16
By decision 4
Losses 14
By knockout 5
By submission 7
By decision 2
No contests 1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Joseph Jonathan Riggs (born September 23, 1982) is an American mixed martial arts fighter. Currently, Riggs fights as a Welterweight, after starting his career off as a Heavyweight, and has moved down one weight class at a time as his career has progressed. He earned the nickname "Diesel" primarily for his no-nonsense approach, and bruising style in the cage, punctuated by hard punches, and heavy kicks. Riggs is the former WEC Middleweight Champion, and has also fought for the UFC, Strikeforce, and Bellator.

Background[edit]

Riggs was born in Sanford, Maine and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Riggs started boxing as a child with his father. Although Riggs is right handed, he was encouraged by his boxing coach to fight southpaw, making his power hand his lead hand.[1]He began wrestling at Cactus High School in Glendale, Arizona, he followed in the footsteps of his hero, Randy Couture, and became an All-American twice. Currently, Riggs also holds a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Riggs has trained at Arizona Combat Sports under the Lally brothers.

Earlier in his career he fought more so as a traditional boxer and progressed to become a ground and pound fighter.

Riggs' strength training consists primarily of plyometrics. His weight training is geared to maintain his muscle mass, and consists of squats, deadlifts and cleans. Riggs does a lot of pushups and circuit training.[1]Riggs credits his success to his knockout power and athleticism. He says that his favorite technique is a right hook, which he knocked out Luke Stewart with on November 20, 2008.

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Over his career, Riggs has fought in the Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, Middleweight and Welterweight divisions, and became a four-time Desert Quest Champion, two-time Grapplers Quest Advance champion, Rage in the Cage Heavyweight and Middleweight champion, Art of War Heavyweight champion, Evolution Combat Heavyweight champion, and XCF Light Heavyweight champion.[2]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Riggs' dream of fighting in the UFC materialized in 2004, in a winning bout against Canadian fighter Joe Doerksen. Riggs received his shot at the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 56 in November 2005 against Matt Hughes.

Originally, the title shot was offered to Karo Parisyan, who had to withdraw due to a torn hamstring. When Riggs was contacted to take Parisyan's place he jumped at the chance, despite having fought at UFC 55 just a month earlier. However, Riggs did not make the required weight and the fight was declared a non-title event, due to Hughes allowing Riggs to fight him (if a fighter does not make weight for a match, the match may still take place if their opponent allows it). Despite his efforts, Riggs could not mount a significant challenge; Hughes took him down and submitted him with a kimura from half-guard just minutes into the first round of the fight.

Following his loss to Hughes, Riggs rebounded to win against future longtime Strikeforce Welterweight Champion, Nick Diaz via decision at UFC 57. In the hospital room after the fight, Diaz and Riggs got into a physical altercation where they had to be separated by police.

Riggs then moved up to Middleweight to face The Ultimate Fighter alumnus Mike Swick. Early in the fight Riggs was caught in a guillotine choke and tapped out. Riggs then fought The Ultimate Fighter 2's Jason Von Flue, submitting him with a triangle choke.

Riggs' last UFC bout was on December 13, 2006, against Welterweight contender Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 7. Riggs lost the fight due to knockout from a hook followed by a knee in 1:45 of the first round.

Following the fight with Sanchez, Riggs chose to go to the WEC and compete for the vacant WEC Middleweight Championship, but had to pull out of the fight the day before because of a recurring back injury.[3]

Strikeforce[edit]

Riggs lost to Cory Devela via submission in his Strikeforce debut at Strikeforce: At The Dome.

Riggs was to return to action on Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson, facing Jiujitsu specialist Luke Stewart. Riggs stepped in as a late replacement for Shonie Carter, who was injured in training. The fight was to be contested at a catchweight of 178 pounds.[4] However, he was denied licensure by the California State Athletic Commission after disclosing his recent use of prescription medication during the licensing process. Riggs lost to Kazuo Misaki at Strikeforce at the Playboy Mansion via controversial stoppage on September 20, 2008.

Riggs won his next fight at Strikeforce: Destruction on November 21, 2008, against Luke Stewart by TKO (Punches) in 2nd round 2:05. Riggs broke his hand throwing the first punch of the bout, but managed to rally in the second round, breaking Stewart's nose in the process.[5]

Riggs next fought on the Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields card from the ScottTrade Center in St. Louis, MO on June 6, 2009, against Phil "The New York Badass" Baroni in a three-round welterweight bout that was broadcast live on the Showtime cable network. In a performance that featured his versatile standup game, including several flying knees, Riggs won a unanimous decision over Baroni.

In his next fight, Riggs faced Jay Hieron on January 30, 2010, at Strikeforce: Miami.[6] Riggs lost the fight via unanimous decision.

In the main event of Strikeforce Challengers: Riggs vs. Taylor, Riggs faced up and coming middleweight Louis Taylor. "Diesel" won by submission due to strikes in the third round.

On December 9, 2010, it was announced that Riggs has parted ways with Strikeforce.[7]

Independent Promotions[edit]

Three months after his knockout loss to Baker at Bellator 43, In a rematch from their bout in 2004 Riggs fought The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner and fellow UFC veteran Kendall Grove. Grove quickly defeated Riggs by submission due to a guillotine choke, Thus avenging his previous loss to Riggs. For the first time in his ten-year career as a mixed martial artist Riggs has lost three straight fights.

Since Riggs loss to Grove he has gone on a five fight win streak with a victory over PRIDE veteran Shannon Ritch.

Fight Master: Bellator MMA[edit]

On May 6, 2013, it was announced that Riggs would be featured as a participant on Bellator Fighting Championships reality TV show Fight Master: Bellator MMA, competing as a Welterweight.[8]

In his first fight to get into the house, Riggs defeated UK fighter Rob Mills via heel hook submission in the first round and subsequently chose to join Greg Jackson's team. In the preliminary round, Riggs defeated Eric Scanlan via unanimous decision and went on to the quarterfinal round where he defeated Evan Cutts via unanimous decision. In the semifinal round, Riggs defeated number one seed Cole Williams in a three round split decision victory. He made it to the tournament finals with Mike Bronzoulis.

Bellator Fighting Championships[edit]

About a month later, on January 10, 2011, Riggs signed with Bellator Fighting Championships to fight in its middleweight division.[9] Riggs made his Bellator debut against Season 2 Middleweight Tournament Finalist Bryan Baker at Bellator 43. After a back and forth fight, Baker knocked Riggs out with a left hook late in the second round.

Riggs was set to face Mike Bronzoulis in the Fight Master Finale on September 7, 2013 at Bellator 98.[10] However, on September 3, it was revealed Riggs has sustained a significant eye injury and the bout was postponed indefinitely.[11] The bout took place on November 2, 2013 at Bellator 106. Riggs won the fight via unanimous decision to become the first winner of Fight Master.

Return to UFC[edit]

After becoming the first winner of Fight Master, Riggs is expected to return to UFC and face Paulo Thiago at UFC Fight Night 51 on September 13, 2014, replacing an injured Mike Rhodes.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Joe and his wife, Lisa, welcomed a son in the summer of 2006, but he died shortly after birth.[13] Their second son, Joseph Diesel Riggs, was born on June 28, 2007.[14]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 40–14 (1) Mike Bronzoulis Decision (unanimous) Bellator 106 November 2, 2013 3 5:00 Long Beach, California, United States Won Fight Master: Bellator MMA Season 1
Win 39–14 (1) Cris Leyva TKO (punches) Rage in the Cage 164 November 16, 2012 1 2:28 Chandler, Arizona, United States
Win 38–14 (1) Josh Cavan KO (punches) Made For War 1 October 13, 2012 1 4:16 Castle Rock, Colorado, United States
Win 37–14 (1) Shane Johnson KO (punch) Rage in the Cage 160 June 22, 2012 2 2:33 Chandler, Arizona, United States
Win 36–14 (1) Aaron Brink Submission (armbar) Rage in the Cage 159 May 11, 2012 2 1:18 Chandler, Arizona, United States Light Heavyweight bout
Win 35–14 (1) Shannon Ritch TKO (punches) Duel for Domination November 26, 2011 1 0:56 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Loss 34–14 (1) Kendall Grove Submission (guillotine choke) ProElite 1 August 27, 2011 1 0:59 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Loss 34–13 (1) Bryan Baker KO (punch) Bellator 43 May 7, 2011 2 3:53 Newkirk, Oklahoma, United States Middleweight bout
Loss 34–12 (1) Jordan Mein KO (punches) Wreck MMA: Strong and Proud January 28, 2011 2 4:30 Gatineau, Quebec, Canada Welterweight bout
Win 34–11 (1) Trent Thorne TKO (elbows) King of the Cage: 48 November 21, 2010 1 3:56 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Middleweight bout
Win 33–11 (1) Louis Taylor Submission (punches) Strikeforce Challengers: Riggs vs. Taylor August 13, 2010 3 2:07 Phoenix, Arizona, United States 182 lb Catchweight
Loss 32–11 (1) Jay Hieron Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Miami January 30, 2010 3 5:00 Sunrise, Florida, United States
Win 32–10 (1) Nick Almen Submission (punches and elbows) Ironman MMA 1 December 11, 2009 1 1:51 Welch, Minnesota, United States
Win 31–10 (1) David Barnes TKO (punches) RITC 138 December 4, 2009 1 0:57 Mesa, Arizona, United States
Win 30–10 (1) Phil Baroni Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields June 6, 2009 3 5:00 St. Louis, Missouri, United States Drops to Welterweight
Win 29–10 (1) Luke Stewart TKO (punches) Strikeforce: Destruction November 21, 2008 2 2:05 San Jose, California, United States 178 lb Catchweight
Loss 28–10 (1) Kazuo Misaki TKO (punches) Strikeforce: At The Mansion II September 20, 2008 2 2:29 Beverly Hills, California, United States
Win 28–9 (1) Matt Dempsey Submission (rear-naked choke) RITC 112 July 26, 2008 2 1:47 Prescott, Arizona, United States
Loss 27–9 (1) Cory Devela Submission (slam) Strikeforce: At The Dome February 23, 2008 1 1:22 Tacoma, Washington, United States
Win 27–8 (1) Eugene Jackson KO (punches) Strikeforce: Playboy Mansion September 29, 2007 1 3:56 Beverly Hills, California, United States
Win 26–8 (1) Dan Chambers Submission (triangle choke) Hardcore Championship Fighting: Unfinished Business July 21, 2007 1 3:25 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Returns to Middleweight
Loss 25–8 (1) Diego Sanchez KO (knee) UFC Fight Night: Sanchez vs Riggs December 13, 2006 1 1:33 San Diego, California, United States
Win 25–7 (1) Jason Von Flue Submission (triangle choke) UFC Fight Night 6 August 17, 2006 1 2:01 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Submission of the Night.
Loss 24–7 (1) Mike Swick Submission (guillotine choke) UFC 60 May 27, 2006 1 2:19 Los Angeles, California, United States Fought at Middleweight
Win 24–6 (1) Nick Diaz Decision (unanimous) UFC 57 February 4, 2006 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 23–6 (1) Matt Hughes Submission (kimura) UFC 56 November 19, 2005 1 3:28 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Originally a title fight, but Riggs failed to make weight and was changed to a non-title match.
Win 23–5 (1) Chris Lytle TKO (cut) UFC 55 October 7, 2005 2 2:00 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States Debut at Welterweight
Win 22–5 (1) Rob Kimmons Submission (punches) WEC 15 May 19, 2005 1 1:24 Lemoore, California, United States Won vacant WEC Middleweight Championship
Loss 21–5 (1) Ivan Salaverry Submission (triangle choke) UFC 52 April 16, 2005 1 2:42 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 21–4 (1) Thomas Gil Submission (armbar) RITC 66 November 13, 2004 1 2:05 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 20–4 (1) Isidro Gonzalez TKO (punches and elbows) WEC 12 October 21, 2004 1 1:50 Lemoore, California, United States
Win 19–4 (1) Joe Doerksen Submission (elbows) UFC 49 August 21, 2004 2 3:37 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 18–4 (1) Shane Johnson KO (punches) XCF 5: Evolution May 28, 2004 1 N/A Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 17–4 (1) Kendall Grove KO (elbows) Rumble on the Rock 5 May 7, 2004 1 3:09 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States Debut at Middleweight
Win 16–4 (1) Dave Vitkay KO (punches) ICC: Trials 2 April 30, 2004 1 N/A Minnesota, United States
Win 15–4 (1) John Renken KO (punch) RITC 60: 'The Saint' Goes Marching In March 20, 2004 1 0:28 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 14–4 (1) Chris Kiever KO (punch) International Fighting Championships: Battleground Tahoe January 31, 2004 1 0:49 Lake Tahoe, Nevada, United States
Loss 13–4 (1) Alex Stiebling Submission (triangle choke) WEC 9 January 16, 2004 2 1:54 Lemoore, California, United States Debut at Light Heavyweight
Win 13–3 (1) Cory Timmerman Submission (armbar) RITC 57: Tucson Revisited December 13, 2003 1 1:11 Tucson, Arizona, United States
Win 12–3 (1) Frank Alcala TKO (punches) IFC: Rumble on the Rio December 6, 2003 1 0:31 Hidalgo, Texas, United States
NC 11–3 (1) Andy Montana No Contest RITC 53: The Beat Goes On September 13, 2003 N/A N/A Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 11–3 Greg Wikan TKO (corner stoppage) ECS: Evolution July 19, 2003 3 5:00 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 10–3 Will Hammond TKO (punches) Art of War 2 June 21, 2003 1 N/A Kalispell, Montana, United States
Loss 9–3 Travis Fulton Submission (choke) RITC 45: Finally March 1, 2003 1 0:48 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 9–2 Herb Dean Submission (punches) RITC 43: The Match January 18, 2003 1 0:52 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Loss 8–2 Wesley Correira KO (knee and punch) Rumble on the Rock 1 December 28, 2002 2 2:07 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Win 8–1 Lemuel Vincent TKO (punches) RITC 42: Road Trip December 7, 2002 1 0:23 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 7–1 Allan Sullivan Submission (armbar) RITC 39: Bring It October 19, 2002 3 1:57 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 6–1 Joe Pardo Decision (unanimous) RITC 38: Let's Roll September 7, 2002 3 3:00 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 5–1 Jess Morton TKO (retirement) RITC 36: The Rematch June 22, 2002 1 3:00 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 4–1 Andy Montana Submission (punches) RITC 35: This Time It's Personal May 3, 2002 1 1:24 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Loss 3–1 Homer Moore Decision (unanimous) RITC 34 March 15, 2002 3 3:00 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 3–0 Joey Vigueria Submission (punches) RITC 33: The Big Show February 2, 2002 1 2:00 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 2–0 Justin Lyon Submission (punches) RITC 31 November 7, 2001 1 0:33 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 1–0 Ryan Roath Submission (punches) RITC 30: Soaring to New Heights September 26, 2001 1 2:32 Phoenix, Arizona, United States MMA Debut

Mixed martial arts exhibition record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 4–0 Cole Williams Decision (split) Fight Master: Bellator MMA August 29, 2013 3 5:00 New Orleans, Louisiana, United States Semi-final bout
Win 3–0 Evan Cutts Decision (unanimous) Fight Master: Bellator MMA August 22, 2013 2 5:00 New Orleans, Louisiana, United States Quarter-final bout
Win 2–0 Eric Scanlan Decision (unanimous) Fight Master: Bellator MMA July 31, 2013 2 5:00 New Orleans, Louisiana, United States Preliminary bout
Win 1–0 Rob Mills Submission (heel hook) Fight Master: Bellator MMA July 10, 2013 1 4:31 New Orleans, Louisiana, United States Elimination bout

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements Vacant
Title last held by
Chris Leben
2nd WEC Middleweight Champion
May 19, 2005 – December, 2006
Vacant
Title next held by
Paulo Filho