Matt Riddle knows exactly how he would attack Brock Lesnar if he ever ended up in an MMA cage with the WWE Universal champion.
“Lesnar is a bully,” said Riddle. “I’d hurt him and show him that he couldn’t hurt me. That doesn’t sound too technical, but in a fight with Brock Lesnar, you need to go after him.”
Riddle fought primarily as a welterweight throughout his MMA career, and finished his controversial UFC career on a four-fight win streak. Like Lesnar, Riddle has an amateur wrestling background, and he also has a jiu-jitsu pedigree unmatched by his peers in pro wrestling. His goal in a fight with Lesnar would be to control the pace of the fight.
“Lesnar is just a huge, freakish athlete,” said Riddle. There is not much you can do with that big of a human being. He doesn’t like to be pushed around, so I would stay aggressive and not let him dictate the action. That’s hard, because it is Brock Lesnar, but that would be my game plan.”
The 31-year-old Riddle is one of the most talented wrestlers in the world not signed by WWE. He is starring for EVOLVE this weekend, wrestling in iPPVs in Queens, New York on Saturday at EVOLVE 96 against Fred Yehi and again at EVOLVE 97 on Sunday vs. WALTER in Melrose, Massachusetts.
The Riddle-Yehi affair on Saturday is unique because it is a “No Rope Break” match, meaning the wrestlers will not have to break holds when their opponent grabs the rope.
“I want to fight like an MMA fighter in a cage,” said Riddle. “In a lot of ways, the ropes are just like the cage–they’re there to control the action. The ropes shouldn’t stop action. It definitely plays into my strength as a fighter.”
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Riddle is the toughest man in wrestling, but until prodded, the humble Pennsylvania native is often the last one to tell you.
“I fought,” Riddle finally admitted. “I know I’m skilled, I know my background, and the people who are familiar with my credentials know better than to try me.
“No one has ever tried anything with me in wrestling. Some guys have rolled with me before matches, like WALTER, Tim Thatcher, and Jeff Cobb. They’re high-level athletes and grapplers, but even they walk away impressed. I try to be as humble as possible, but I’m just on another level. That’s all there is to it.”
In addition to his work with EVOLVE, Riddle tapped out another former UFC fighter, “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, at MLW’s Never Say Never in Orlando, Florida. Riddle sprinted to the airport after the match, catching a red eye to London for a RevPro match tonight against an internationally acclaimed opponent in Zack Sabre Jr. He then flies back to New York for the Saturday match against Yehi, works a Sunday matinee for Beyond Wrestling against Martin Stone, then finishes the weekend with a highly anticipated rematch with WxW’s half-man, half-beast WALTER.
“I have five big matches,” said Riddle. “Now that’s a weekend.”
Riddle acknowledged that he will soon be making a move to WWE or New Japan Pro Wrestling (“It’s coming,” he acknowledged), but noted that he is grateful for the chance to build his own brand on the indies as “The King of Bros”.
“Right now, I dictate what I do and how it’s done,” said Riddle. “I get to work the way I want, I get to work my style on the indies and be Matthew Riddle, be the ‘King of Bros.’ On a bigger scale, like WWE, they want to change the way you work.”
Riddle was originally scheduled to debut in New Japan’s World Tag League, but revealed that the deal disintegrated during the eleventh hour.
“New Japan looked very promising recently with the World Tag League, but things slipped through at the last minute,” said Riddle. “I’ve seen some of the best wrestlers in the world not signed with WWE. There is a lot of talent on the indies that is just as good, if not better, than there is in WWE or New Japan.”
Although the match-up with Lesnar would be appointment viewing, Riddle’s biggest rival is UFC president Dana White.
“I am not the biggest fan of Dana White,” said Riddle. “I didn’t like the way he handled my situation, especially considering the way he handled multiple other people differently.”
Riddle’s demise with the UFC was the result of two drug test failures for marijuana. The UFC quickly cut ties, which caused the rift with White.
“Maybe he regrets the way he treated me, but then he looks at his back account,” said Riddle. “Dana White thought he was doing the right thing for himself, his friends, and his company. He has a hard time apologizing or admitting guilt, so I don’t think he feels bad whatsoever. I think he would do it again if he could.”
“At this point, I don’t really care. You can’t go around carrying a grudge. I’m in a completely new career with a completely different fan base, and it’s much better fit.”
Riddle’s path to superstardom continues this weekend, and he is promising an unforgettable experience for those who invest in the show.
“I’m going to make people want to come see me,” said Riddle. “That’s why I am valuable on the indies. That’s the difference between making $20 or $1000. I’m getting paid more and getting the push, and I am having great matches.
“I guarantee great matches. I’m wrestling two top talents in WALTER and Fred Yehi, who made the dumb decision to wrestle me in a no rope break match, so I’m going to smash his face everywhere.”