Brad ‘Quake’ Riddell made his UFC debut at UFC 243 in Melbourne last year, with a unanimous decision win over Australian Jamie Mullarkey. Brad’s efforts in his first UFC fight won him Fight of the Night, and the kiwi is not looking to stop anytime soon. In his mission to reach the top of the rankings and make his mark on the MMA world stage, Brad recently decided tojoin the Wattbike tribeto take his fighting performance to the next level.
28-year old lightweight Riddell is a decorated kickboxer with more than 80 fights under his belt. As it stands, he is a WKBF World Kickboxing Champion, a New Zealand WMC Champion, a Commonwealth Middleweight Champion, and his pro MMA record currently stands at 7-1. But he’s just getting started.
Brad currently trains at City Kickboxing in Auckland, New Zealand, which has been dubbed ‘Best MMA Gym of 2019’ byForbes Magazine. The team there includesKai Kara-France(currently ranked #8 in the UFC flyweight division),Israel Adesanya(current reigning UFC Middleweight Champion),Alexander Volkanovski (current reigning UFC Featherweight Champion),Dan Hooker(currently ranked #7 in the UFC lightweight division), andLuke Jumeau(former UFC Welterweight). It’s safe to say that this gym is bursting with hard working, talented athletes.
The fighters at City Kickboxing are all supervised by coach Eugene Bareman, who was named ‘Coach of the Year’ byMMA Junkiein 2019. This title seems incredibly well-deserved after Bareman entered 2019 with no UFC champions under his wing and finished the year with two (Adesanya and Volkanovski). In addition to this, the last time City Kickboxing shipped its fighters off to compete on a UFC fight card, all three fighters who represented their gym won.
We caught up with Brad over the phone last week to get to know our latest Wattbiker better, and to find out how his training is shaping up ahead of UFC Fight Night 168 on the 23rd of February. The fight takes place on home turf in Auckland, New Zealand, and Brad will be fighting Russian lightweight Magomed Mustafaev.
Hi Brad, thanks for chatting with us today. How’s your day been so far?
“My day has been good, my next fight is getting closer so that is exciting, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be here in Auckland and it’s the first time the UFC is back in New Zealand for three or four years, which is very cool and I’m very excited for it. I’m fighting a Russian fighter called Magomed Mustafaev, he’s really good so it’s going to be fun.
Sounds great! We can’t wait to watch the fight to see how you get on. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about you and your background?
"I started in kickboxing when I was 14 and did that for about nine years before moving on to MMA. I actually got into kickboxing through YouTube. I thought it looked cool so I went down to my local gym and joined them. After a while I moved to Thailand for about four years and lived, trained and worked there. After a while I decided to move back to Auckland as I missed my team, I missed having a full time coach and stuff like that."
Did you find it to be quite a natural progression into MMA after being a kickboxer for so long?
“Yes. MMA was like the next challenge after kickboxing, it was the next step up, and there is also more money in MMA than kickboxing. If you want to do something like this for a living I guess you have to chase the money! So I’ve been doing MMA now for about three years now. I think the biggest challenge for me moving from kickboxing to MMA has been to learn how to wrestle and grapple and things like that in a short amount of time, so that has been the biggest challenge but everything else has been pretty awesome!”
Can you tell us where your nickname has come from?
"My nickname comes from my home city of Christchurch. It got really damaged during the 2011 earthquakes; a lot of people died and lost their houses and things like that. The earthquakes were one of the main reasons why I moved back to New Zealand and started fighting, so the name is kind of like a tribute to my home city."
That makes sense. Can you tell us what a typical training week looks like for you?
“We train every morning from around 8am to 11, and then in the evenings we train like an hour, or an hour and a half max. We train everything throughout the week. Saturday and Sunday we do half days but it’s pretty full on with a lot of workload. We train a lot of the different martial arts at the same time, so it’s combined, and it’s all put together by our coach Eugene. But we do have separate classes for some of the disciplines if we want to fine tune a particular thing or skill. All cardio and conditioning is combined with everything else in our weekly schedule, and we do a lot of high workload conditioning.
I enjoy all disciplines and all parts of training but I really love wrestling. Competing in wrestling is really fun and really hard, so anything that creates a little bit of competition I enjoy. At the moment I am training very broad, very general, everything evenly because I reckon this fight will need a little bit of everything!”
Sounds like a good game plan! What are your goals in the UFC, and as an MMA athlete?
"My goal is to be the UFC Lightweight World Champion by the end of 2021. As an athlete, I strive to be a complete martial artist. While I am an accomplished striker, I want to earn my black belt in BJJ, to win grappling tournaments, to constantly innovate and creatively put it all together. Beyond fighting, MMA offers me a platform to create positive social change. For example this April, I am taking 10 deserving kids to train in Thailand. As I grow in this sport, I hope to be more impactful on a larger scale."
Now tell us, how did you first hear about Wattbike?
“I was in a gym here in Auckland, it’s called Next Generation, and they had Wattbikes in there, but I’d never seen them before. I’d only seen exercise bikes inspinclasses and things like that. When I tried the Wattbike I really liked it because I realised I could do all of my conditioning work on there. I mainly do long slow rides for aerobic work, and the Wattbike is really good for that, especially after fights for low intensity training so it’s super useful. I also really like that if you’re pedalling really hard you can stop and your feet don’t keep going around like they do on otherspin bikes."
You contacted us to join our tribe, so what was it that attracted you to Wattbike in the first place?
“I got in touch with Wattbike because I felt like the product could be a great complement to my current training, I have to do a lot of long, slow aerobic sessions, usually two per week, so the Wattbike is awesome for that. I just go to my garage now, where before I used to go to the gym to ride their assault bike or something like that, or go for a run but sometimes I just can’t be bothered. Now I can just sit in my garage on the Wattbike where I have music, I have a TV, so it’s pretty cool. It’s a great setup.”
Sounds like you’ve set up a really great pain cave there! In your training, what do you use the Wattbike indoor trainer for apart from slow aerobic sessions?
“At the moment I am using the Wattbike for long and slow sessions during fight camp. After the camp, when I’ve had some rest I plan on doing a lot of fast workouts in the morning, as I can just jump on [the Wattbike] first thing, and I also have some other things in my garage like a bag and pads so I’m also going to incorporate it into that which is pretty cool.”
What has been your experience with your Wattbike so far?
"Everything has been perfect with the bike since delivery, everything’s been working really well."
Would you consider using the Wattbike for performance testing?
“Yes! I actually just came from Las Vegas where I visited the UFC Performance Institute where I got to do aVO2 max test on the Wattbike, so that was cool. It was really hard! (laughs). I did the VO2 max test and an aerobic capacity test and that was pretty hard because they just gradually increased the resistance so I ended up going up about 18 ramps which was really hard."
Yes, the VO2 max test really is hard work! So with your fight coming up, what do the next couple of days look like for you in terms of training?
“Last week we did a lot of hard training, then fight week is all about making weight, doing all the media obligations and things like that. Then I weigh in and I get ready to fight which is the fun part, so it’s going to be pretty cool.
I get quite excited the last training week before the fight as everything starts ramping up and every workout we are doing that week is going to be the last one so everyone seems to go a little bit harder. The intensity and all the live work we do is just to try and make sure that I am ready.”
Thanks for chatting to us Brad, we wish you the best of luck in your fight!
UFC Fight Night 168 takes place this Saturday night at 12am UK time. To keep up to date with Brad’s progress, make sure you are following Wattbike on social media. Also, stay tuned for some of Brad’s training tips and a focused Wattbike MMA session which will hit the blog in the next couple of weeks.