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After being spit on by fan, Matt Riddle happy to be fighting again in U.S.

Riddle says Manchester fans disrespectful, he’s done fighting overseas

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Courtesy of UFC

Matt Riddle (right) lands a kick to Nick Osipczak during their welterweight bout at UFC 105 in Manchester, England on Nov. 14, 2009. Osipczak won the fight by TKO.

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Before traveling to Manchester, England, for his first UFC fight overseas at UFC 105 in November, Matt Riddle knew he probably was going to face some challenges.

The Las Vegas-based welterweight was expecting to deal with the effects of jet lag, a significant time change and the hostile crowd that comes with fighting a British fighter in England.

But there was one bump in the road Riddle hadn't prepared himself for — being spit on by a fan right before walking out to face Nick Osipczak.

"Let's put it this way," said Riddle, when asked to sum up his Manchester experience. "I come out and I'm standing in the tunnel waiting to go out. They're all booing and saying, 'F you' and I'm like, 'Whatever.' Then all of a sudden, a huge (expletive) loogie hits me right in the eye and drips down my face.

"I don't like bodily fluids on me, let alone some dude with no teeth in his mouth hocking a loogie on me right before I step in the cage."

Riddle doesn't like to make excuses for the November loss, the first of his professional career, but the 24-year-old won't deny he's looking forward to staying in the U.S. for his upcoming fight against Greg Soto at UFC 111 on Saturday in Newark, N.J.

Problems for Riddle actually began a couple of weeks before he left the U.S., when he came down with the flu and was unable to put together a strong finish to his training camp.

Riddle admits that on top of that, he underestimated the toll that traveling overseas would take on his body and still hadn't adjusted to the time difference before the fight.

"Every night, I woke up just sweating — and I was cutting weight so it was hard for me to sweat," Riddle said. "I was waking up drenched every morning. I was sick two weeks before the fight, and traveling and cutting weight just killed me."

With all of the problems he was facing leading up to the fight, Riddle said, it was hard to stay positive the night of the fight, and he went in just hoping he'd be able to sneak one out.

"Before the fight, I was hitting mitts and I had to stop because I was so tired," Riddle said. "When I was fighting, I remember thinking, 'I can't believe how weak I am.' I knew I was in trouble before it started.

"I was like, 'I hope I can pull this one off. But I'm exhausted.'"

Although Riddle was able to survive the first two rounds, exhaustion caught up with him by the final round and Osipczak was able to stop the fight for the TKO win.

The experience would have been bad enough in itself, but it was made worse by Riddle's personal opinion of Osipczak — mostly that he's an overrated, tasteless fighter.

Not usually one to be offended easily, Riddle said he was angered by specific comments Osipczak made to media outlets before the fight that he was going to, "piddle on Riddle."

Those pre-fight comments and the outcome of the fight have left Riddle hoping for a rematch with Osipczak — this time on U.S. soil.

"If somebody says they're going to smash my face in, I'm fine. But the kid said he was going to pee on me," Riddle said. "I found that to be trash."

"If I ever got the opportunity to, I'd make him fight me on my home turf and I'd make him cry. The kid is a mutt. He beat me on my worst day in his own backyard."

His treatment in England has even got Riddle saying he'll never travel overseas to fight again, except for in Japan, where he believes fans are more respectful of fighters.

And it's definitely got him saying he'll never return to Manchester for any reason. Ever.

"I can handle boos. Boos entertain me," Riddle said. "It's the spitting that gets to me. And the poor dentistry in England. There's nothing worse than a bunch of toothless, ignorant people yelling at you. It's horrible. Worse food. Worse weather. I heard London is nice, so maybe it is. But I've only been to the armpit of England."

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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