Matt Riddle recently opened up about his time training and competing in mixed martial arts during an episode of Lilian Garcia’s podcast, Chasing Glory. He also shared what he found most difficult when transitioning into pro wrestling.
Before his time as an NXT Superstar and pro wrestler, Riddle competed in MMA and the UFC. Looking back on his time competing, he admitted he sometimes can’t believe he chose MMA as a career path:
“I’ll be honest, I watch some of my old fights, and even when I watch fights now, I’m like, ‘I can’t believe I did that.’ It’s—I can probably do it now, I was training before I came over here and I handled myself quite well. But at the same time, it’s very reckless,” Riddle said. “It’s dangerous, there’s reward at the end but there’s also a high level of risk. I watch it, and like you said, it makes me flinch sometimes. I remember when I was younger I was like, ‘Yeah, nobody can hurt me.’ And now I’m like, why was I so stupid? Then again, it helped me but myself in the position I’m in now. I don’t regret it, because I had a good career.”
Learning To Sell
Transitioning from MMA to pro wrestling wasn’t seamless for Riddle. He confessed that he had a hard time learning how to sell after having to shrug everything off during a fight.
“From MMA to pro wrestling it would have to be selling,” Riddle said. “In MMA you get punched in your face and you go, ‘No, didn’t even faze me.’ But in pro wrestling you’ve got to present it to the audience, the world. But that’s the biggest difference. For me, like I said, I’ve always been a fan, even when I would train MMA and stuff like that, I would play around, say if you get hit – I’ve been working on this for a while.”
H/T to Wrestlezone for the transcription.