When you fight for the UFC, there's a very good chance that you'll get to go to a dream destination to carry out the duties of your chosen profession. With Zuffa's global expansion, places like Australia, China, Japan, Sweden and England are more than just a dream. They're a reality. There is a lead lining to this silver cloud, though. The fighters from the US that travel to foreign territory often end up taking on local talent. Fighting in someone else's backyard can make for a very hostile crowd of fans. Matt Riddle found this out the hard way a few years back, in England. Now, in just a matter of hours, he'll once again face that hostile crowd of what he calls 'butter toothed Brits', when he faces off against Che Mills at UFC on FUEL TV 7. I had a chance to catch up with Matt to get thoughts on his upcoming bout and on once again facing a possible angry mob of fans.
Merry old England
You know, last time I went to England, a lot of factors played in. I got sick on the flight there, blah blah blah, got jet lag, got spit on ... just not a good experience. This time around, things are looking better. I'm already on weight, I'm in great shape, and I got the flu two weeks ago, which also helped me get my weight down. Now that I've gotten all that out of the way, I feel pretty good and I feel confident.
I would have to say it's hostile territory, especially for a guy like me. They don't like me, especially after that one press conference, they really don't like me. When Joe Silva called me up and asked me to fight Che Mills in London, honestly, I said, 'I don't want to go back to England unless I fight Dan Hardy.' He said he would give me Dan Hardy if I beat Che Mills in London, so I agreed to take this fight. On the other hand, I see that Dan Hardy is fighting Matt Brown like a month and a half after I'm fighting Che Mills, and there's no way he'll take a fight with me after that. I think it was just a ploy to make me sign a contract and get back to England so I can get spit on again, so I'm a little pissed off [laughs].
Fighting Che Mills
I really don't care. I'm just gonna go out there and get my win. Maybe I'll just go out there and hug Che for 15 minutes, give the UFC what they want, I guess. If they want me to get disrespected, I may as well disrespect the fight game and take down Che Mills and hug him. I can. I'm really good at hugging people [laughs]. I think I might go out there and hold Che Mills down for 15 minutes and not even punch him. My cardio is good enough to where I can take him down about four times a round. Even if they stand me up after 20 seconds, I'll take him down again. Whatever.
Me and Joe (Silva) have a great relationship. I don't have a manager, so me and Joe talk directly. We never have disagreements or anything, so when he said he really wanted me to fight in London, I told him what happened the last time. People spit on me, they called me nasty names, the water sucks, the food is horrible, I just don't want to go. He said, 'OK, Matt, what can I do to make you go?' I was like, 'Give me Dan Hardy and I will do it.' He said 'OK', and that was that. Thing is, I know Matt Brown is gonna knock Dan out, so why would I even want to fight him after that fight, anyway? It was kind of a slap in my face. Maybe he doesn't see it that way, but that's how I look at it. Obviously we'll still do business together, but I guess the point of all this is that I'm hurt by it. I would be lying if I said I wasn't hurt.
I was a little upset when I saw that they had signed the other contract, especially the time. If it was like the week before or after my fight, I wouldn't care, but it's almost two months after I fight, which means Dan isn't gonna want to train for another fight for another four months, even if he does win. I'm just gonna have to fight somebody else in the meantime, after I beat Che Mills.
What's gonna happen is I'll fight in London, I'll beat Che Mills, I'll look in the audience, and Dana won't be there, Joe Silva won't be there. It'll be a bunch of UK UFC employees. Hopefully they'll give me another fight that I want, and it won't be in the UK. That's the thing, I don't mind fighting internationally, I just asked not to fight in England again, and they went out of their way to put me on another England card. They were smart about it. Right before they asked me to do it, they had me sign another four fight contract, so they lined me up for it. They put me in a position where I really couldn't say no.
TRT and THC
These guys are out there on TRT, turned into killers and walking through bombs ... I naturally can just walk through punishment because I'm a G. I don't need to take TRT. I naturally have a lot of testosterone. The reason these guys have to take testosterone is because they used to juice when they were younger, and their bodies don't produce it naturally anymore, so now they gotta cheat. It's OK because the UFC says it's OK. The athletic commissions say it's OK for them to cheat, but God forbid I smoke a plant. Test me for THC, don't test me for metabolites. That shit is still in my system three weeks after I smoke. That's bullshit. I'm sorry, but it is.
I'm not gonna lie, if I beat Che Mills, and Matt Brown gets hurt, I will fight Dan Hardy on two weeks notice. I'll take that fight. I know I'll win. When I fought in England, that was the same card that Dan Hardy beat Mike Swick for the number one contender spot. Then I fought on the same card as GSP and Dan Hardy. I saw Dan run his mouth, be mean as shit, and just talk shit, the whole time, just like every other English fighter usually does. Not all English guys are like that. Che Mills is actually very respectful. John Maguire is too. I respect those guys.
Anyway, Dan Hardy runs his mouth, came back to the locker room after he got beat, hugging GSP like they were best buds. I was like, no. You talk shit to me, I'm gonna hurt you. I'm not gonna be your friend. I'm not gonna talk to you in the back. If you're gonna run your mouth, then run it. I know I can beat him. I've seen him train at Drysdale's. I've seen guys that I run through, run through him. I know what I can do to him, and it would be easy.
You can follow Matt via his Twitter account, @RiddleTUF7