Matt Riddle is one of the few men who can say they’ve beaten Jon Jones.
Going back to their high school wrestling days, Riddle and Jones competed on two occasions with the WWE star picking up victories both times. Since then, Jones has gone on to become arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time, but not without controversy.
Jones’ lone MMA loss came via illegal downward elbows landed when facing Matt Hamill in Dec. 2009. Later down the line, Jones lost his title multiple times due to drug test failures, one of which overturned a Daniel Cormier second-round knockout into a no-contest at UFC 214.
Getting the chance to pick Riddle’s brain on the recent DC & RC, Jones’ biggest career rival couldn’t help but instigate a bit.
“You and I have crossed paths, we have lived similar lives in regards to competition,” Cormier said. “You, on the other hand, have done something once that I have never done; you beat Jon Jones. So, my question to you is this, Riddle … do you think Jon Jones was cheating you at that time as much as he cheated me or do you think he played fair and that’s why you won? That’s all I gotta know.”
Despite having moved past MMA, Riddle, 36, has expressed interest in a third match with Jones at some point, but has nothing bad to say about the light heavyweight legend’s career.
“I’ll say that Jon Jones, like him or not, he’s always been a top-tier competitor since I’ve known him since high school and throughout his UFC career and etc.,” Riddle said. “He might — I’m not gonna get into anything else, but I don’t think when I beat him he was cheating yet. I don’t think he used any PEDs or was on any stimulants or anything like that. I think he was young.
“I remember his family was always there and it was a very family-oriented environment. Jon was always super kind to me and so was his whole family. But I think he was still on the straight and narrow then, bro. But I think that helped.”
Riddle had one of the rarer MMA careers during his run, competing exclusively in the UFC as a welterweight from his professional debut off The Ultimate Fighter 7 in June 2008, to early 2013. The Allentown, Pennsylvania native’s marijuana use ultimately cost him his job with the ultimate proving ground, however, before so many test failures led to his release and a fight in Titan FC.
After one post-UFC victory, Riddle was off to a flourishing career as a professional wrestler.
“I’ve heard some stories and stuff like that [about Jones] but I don’t know if they’re factual or fiction,” Riddle said. “You know, a lot of people say crazy things. But he’s failed some tests. I’m not gonna say anything because I’ve failed some tests, too. I don’t wanna go there. I don’t throw rocks, I live in a glass house, you know what I’m saying, bro? But all I know is I think he was young and still just working his way up.”
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Matt Riddle truly is a bro’s bro.
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