Tough Enough's Jeremiah Riggs talks training with Shamrock, Hughes, DeMott, Rima hooking up
Pro wrestler, MMA fighter and star of USA Network's "Tough Enough" was one of two special guests on the May 5th edition of Thursday Night AMP. Hosts Peter H and Stevie J spent almost an hour talking to Riggs about his career and giving him questions from the live listeners in the AngryMarks.com/chat, and the colorful and charismatic Riggs pulled no punches during his time on the show. Producer Kev has recapped some of Jeremiah's more memorable answers below.
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1) Who is the tougher MMA trainer, Frank Shamrock or Matt Hughes?
"That's a pretty good question. I would definitely say they both have their good and bad qualities. Matt, I would have to say, hands down, he's just more relentless. I've seen Frank's buttons pushed the wrong way and make you pay for it, but I've seen Matt, straight out, he'll do it time and time again. He may be playing, but damn, he plays rough. He'll hold you down and do it to you time and time again. He's straight up, if he don't like something he'll punish you, he'll make you pay for it."
2) Who is tougher training in wrestling, Dutch Mantell or Bill DeMott?
"Big Bill, man, he's a son of a bitch! Both of them, I think, will give each other the run for their money. Dutch, he's a little more old school in the sense that he does get in the ring from time to time, but Bill is more active. Bill will pick you up and slam you on your head, run the ropes etc. As far as old school, you can ask anybody, Dutch Mantell is an older fella but he won't take no shit, he'll put a foot in your ass. First time I ever met Dutch he wouldn't let me step foot in a ring, he made me go through training, but I respected him for that. Bill backed that up, he told me that when he himself first trained he wasn't allowed to step into the ring either. I believe if Dutch was still slamming and kicking people, you could see a side of him that you wouldn't wanna see."
3) What's the main difference between training in MMA and training for Tough Enough?
"Wrestling is so different with the muscles that you work than in MMA.. MMA training did help me out for the cardio, but the brutality of hitting them ropes, people don't realize just how real that is. Even now it can piss me off... just saying, damn, just how ruthless it is. Getting punched in the face don't feel good, but hitting them ropes feels just as bad."
4) Any stories from The Ultimate Fighter Season 7 that you can share?
"Not really, the only thing I really had from trying out is that I did it all on my own, went out there and gave it my all. Whenever you stand out, you gotta get out there 100% and do what you love doing, that's one thing I did, that's one thing I was doing was taking that opportunity, nothing was given to me."
3) How do you feel as Dan Cramer as an opponent on Ultimate Fighter Season 7?
"Dan was game, he was a game opponent. Coming in, I was still green as I guess you could call it in MMA, I was put on the fast track whenever I got into fighting. But Dan Cramer, he went to the semi finals, you could see me being a little upset, but I didn't regret anything from fighting Dan. We went toe-to-toe and I wouldn't want it any other way. Fighting him now I think you would see a totally different fight, I've grown in the sport and I've gotten better."
4) What was your experience fighting in Bellator Fighting Championships like?
"Man, that was awesome. Whenever I got that fight, I knew that was my opportunity to really shine. I watch Bellator and when they asked me to fight I was more than ready, I was thrilled. It was short notice, but I was ready. I fought a game opponent Mike Fleniken. We fought to a decision, but it was a career-making moment. I'll remember that right, it was a good first fight for Bellator, and I wouldn't want it any other way."
5) What is your impression of Trish, Booker T and Steve Austin and what have you learned from their experience?
"Being with Trish... being a male, having a woman trainer is pretty awesome. She can be the peaceful voice you hear after everybody else is yelling down your throat, but she was tough, she was game. Bill, he goes way back. I relate to Bill like when I was in military, he's sees something in you and he is going to push you to try to break you, but he's doing it for your own good. Booker is phenomenal, he knows good when he sees it. He's so smooth, his movement, his passion, it's so sweet, it's almost like watching Michael Jackson dance. If you look at Booker, how he moves and flows is just crazy. Then you got 'Stone Cold', man... shit! I shouldn't have to say anything about him. That's the toughest son of a bitch that I've ever met! The red light is never off, he is who he is, and that's how he got popular because he's always himself. he's always him, that's one thing I've always respected about him. he's a good ol' boy, he loves what he did and always gives his heart."
6) What would you think of facing Kharma?
"Oh, I'd love it, I'd pick her ass up and slam her on her head, then I'd go to the top rope and give her a signature move or two. If she wanted to get in the ring and go at it I'll go, I don't care!"
7) Tell us about your experience in the military, as well as your father.
"Me and my dad, my dad was actually in Iraq when I was headed over to Afghanistan. Daddy was coming back and here I was getting shipped off. My daddy is in Afghanistan right now, he's doing good. He's been gone since September, he won't be back until July, but that's his passion, he loves that shit. That's where I get my mentality and little bit of craziness, my pops, he's a tough SOB I love him to death. We've crossed paths more than just that, daddy is out there doing his thing, and that's something I got to share with my dad was the military. He's my hero."
8) On the off chance you never get a chance in WWE, what about working with Strikeforce or UFC?
"You know, that's one thing, I've never burned my bridges or close any doors to opportunity. A few months ago I was in Las Vegas and I met Dana White, I shook his hand, he knows who I am. People in the business know who I am, they know I'm game, and I pride myself on that. If fighting came back up around the corner, hell yeah I'll jump in on that, I never said I'm quitting. I'm not quitting, it's just a journey, I'm in here for the ride and I'm gonna do it to the best of my abilities. I might be in this shit for 15 years, you never know. You don't never know when you're in that kind of business. You never know who is going to run their mouth and call you out, either. I love mixed martial arts, I love WWE. You can't ever close yourself off just because an opportunity is closed, you never know when opportunities come again. You have to grab ahold of them when they come."
9) What did you think when Matt Cross was eliminated so early on Tough Enough?
"It wasn't to my surprise. If you kinda looked around the ring, and somebody says your name, it's like who? Who are you? If I had nine years in the business and could do all the great things he could do? There was an opportunity and you can't wait on it, because a shark like me will eat you. When you're swimming in a pool of sharks it's either eat or be eaten. From the time you wake up in the morning, it's your decision to whether you're going to take an opportunity or you gonna wait for somebody to give you one. It is what it is, and it's something you're going to have to live with, because I sure ain't waiting."
10) Have you watched yourself on Tough Enough? Does the editing make you different from who you are?
"That's me. The red light's always on with me. If you hear me talk right now, it's the same way you hear me talk on the show or anywhere else. If you meet me tomorrow, and shake my hands, you're gonna meet Jeremiah Riggs, and I'm not gonna have it any other way. That's me, I know that's me. I don't regret anything I do or anything I say. If I'm gonna say it, I say it. I can look myself fin the mirror."
11) Were there any hook ups in the house between the men and women in the house?
"There wasn't any that I've personally seen... well, except maybe... I don't know if I can say this, but I don't give a shit. I seen a little bit with Luke and Rima, but I... I don't know, I don't know what to say about it. A lot of people really kinda bumped heads, you can see on the show, it plays and it shows. Nothing, really, nothing that would hurt anybody's feelings. They know if they did, and that's just them. I was just a fly on the wall peepin' and soaking up the information, if you know what I mean."
12) Do you have any advice for younger fighters breaking into MMA?
"To any fighter out there who is trying to break into the bigger places or whatever, I understand their frustrations. I think it is harder to talk about that trying to tell somebody you need to do this or you need to do that. I understand what it's like to be looked and and told there's so many fighters. I never lost faith in anything I ever did. Just be well rounded, you gotta be smart now days in fighting. I hate to say it but now days your fighting is as good as your record. You gotta get out there, and pay your dues. But you gotta get out there, get in a good school, get noticed. Get with the program, if this is something that you really want to do and get into your career, just get out there and put on the best show you can. just because you lose doesn't mean you're not a winner. I've lost three fights and sometimes I thought that I was the biggest loser in the world, but I turned it around. All my losses I learned by learning, you can lose and learn and I ultimately believe you can be a winner. I think whenever you stop learning is the day you probably just need to get out of the business. The moment you think you know everything is the moment you're caught. To the younger fighters I will say live your dreams, I'm living mine right now. No guts, no glory, you gotta give it your all, get out there, and just take no shit. It's a cut throat business and a lot of people out there want to use you like a fighting dog. It's a really cut throat business, but don't get taken advantage of. You know what you're worth, so get out there and fight for what you're worth."
13) What do you do to unwind?
"I haven't even gotten a chance to sit down and watch TV, I stay so busy. Sometimes I wake up and I get out in the yard and full around. I got a pile of chickens at my house, I'll get out there and fool around with hem. I got an 18 wheeler and I'll get out there and hit the road, a lot of times people don't see the real you. I work hard for a lot I got, sometimes I'll get out there and I can't relax, I'll get out there and hustle. If it's turkey season I'll get out there and hunt."
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