A few years ago, more than a few people had likely closed the book on Joe Rigg’s run as top welterweight, after “Diesel” dropped several bouts in a row and returned to the regional fight circuit. But, in 2011, the well travelled vet began to turn things around, and since then, Riggs has gone 6-1. Why is that? Two words–Benson Henderson.
Riggs is set to fight Patrick Cote this weekend at UFC 186, and recently the 40-15 fighter (you don’t see a lot of records like that these days huh?) spoke to USA Today about the upcoming fight. While discussing what’s behind his recent run, which included winning Bellator’s “Fight Master” series, Riggs stated (quote via MMA Junkie.com):
“Being at The MMA Lab has been great,” Riggs said. “Benson is like a brother to me. When I got there, I had lost three straight. Then I got there and went on a long win streak. I told myself I was going to do what Benson did. I was going to train as much and as hard as he did.”
Yup. Following Henderson’s lead is not a bad way to go. Now, Riggs’ streak did come to an end at UFC on FOX 13 last December, as the well rounded fighter injured his neck while taking on Ben Saunders. The bout marked the first time Riggs had fought in the UFC since 2006. While recalling the injury, the 32 year-old stated:
“I bulged two discs in my neck,” Riggs said. “I didn’t have to get surgery so I just got two injections. I bent my neck weird. I thought I broke my neck. My whole arm went numb, and I was scared. I tapped immediately, and they didn’t stop it, so I thought I would try it again, and I couldn’t because my whole arm was just a flopper like a limp wiener.”
It’s going to be interesting to see how Riggs looks again Cote, who is also an extremely rugged fighter that has been around the block a few times. That’s also a fight that has the potential to be pretty outstanding.
Cote is looking to get back on track after he was decisioned by Stephen Thompson in September. The Canadian had won three straight prior to the defeat.
UFC 186 will be hosted by the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. In the main event, flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson will battle Kyoji Horiguchi.