Joe “Diesel” Riggs began fighting as a way to cope with his parents’ divorce, splitting time between boxing and wrestling.
He turned pro at just 16 years old, but his career really took off in front of one of the most important faces in UFC.
“I was fighting a lot, and I had a really big fight against somebody who I wasn’t supposed to beat, and Dana White from the UFC was there,” Riggs said. “And it was right when the UFC was exploding. and it happened real fast. From two years from that point, I got a UFC Title Shot. I went from no one knowing who I was to everyone knowing who I was.”
So what brings the Hall of Famer and former WEC Middleweight champion to the Electric City?
“The reason why I’m doing this fight is because I’m moving to Montana. I’m opening up a gym here, and so this is the last time I’m gonna fight anyone here locally. Generally, I fight overseas, so this is probably my last fight in the United States.”
That’s right, after 15 years, of jabs, kicks, and takedowns, Diesel is hanging up the gloves, and instead hopes to help other chase their dreams right here in the Treasure State, just like he did back in 2003.
“Actually my first fight outside of Arizona was in Kalispell, which was one of the most beautiful places I ever saw, so I fell in love with the people, I fell in love with the atmosphere, ” Riggs said.
But the move isn’t just for his career. Riggs said the most important part of his life, aside from his craft, is his family.
“I mean 100 fights is a lot of fights, so I wanna end it on a good note, and I was like this is a great place to raise kids, and I haven’t met too many bad people from here, so if they grow up like this, like people from here, then I’ll be happy.”
As for the fights this weekend, Riggs says it will be memorable for so many reasons.
“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I’ve had a lot of great things, but this is actually probably gonna be one of the highlights of my career because my kids have never seen me fight live and they’re flying up to see me fight, they’re actually gonna walk out with me during the whole thing, and make sure you come to watch cause it’s gonna be a good show.”
Fusion Fight League’s title card begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Four Seasons Arena. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Alias Smith and Jones Pawn.
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