By KOTC Staff The name Samurai Khardassian may not be a familiar one with many MMA fans, but if all goes well for him in his upcoming bout with highly regarded veteran Joe “Diesel” Riggs, that’s going to change. Khardassian will head to Cold Lake, Alberta to face Riggs at King of the Cage’s “Sentinel” card Saturday night, and despite being a huge underdog on paper, the experienced grappler believes he’s ready to shock the MMA world.
“Anything can happen in a MMA fight,” said Khardassian, when asked to respond to critics who may view his fight with the 33-11 Riggs as a mismatch. “I’m a seasoned vet; I’ve been grappling against black belts and against black belt level competition since I was 16, so for eight years, and I’ve been doing MMA for 12. I’ve been grappling for 12 years and I’ve spent time teaching seminars, training Special Forces people, and I’ve submitted several UFC fighters, who I’d prefer not to name in terms of modesty. Riggs is a seasoned vet, you know, but I have no reason to lose so I’m a dark horse. I’ll fight anybody.”
While many fight databases have Khardassian at 0-1, with a TKO loss coming to Brian Coldwell last September, the long time training partner of Carlos Newton says his ring experience is in fact more extensive.
“Unfortunately it’s tough to sleep at night because they have me 0-1,” says Khardassian, who is a brown belt in traditional, Japanese jiu-jitsu. “But no, I’ve had about eight or nine fights internationally. I’ve been waiting for a bigger opportunity to showcase my skills, as a lot of my fights have been on small shows, they’re not even on YouTube, and we’ve even had trouble getting the tapes. I’ve had about 9 fights but over the years I’ve grappled with over 1,500 different sparring partners.”
Khardassian mentioned his willingness to “fight anybody”, and when the possibility of facing Riggs came about, the Ontario resident jumped at the opportunity.
“My reaction was that it’s a shame they can’t find anyone to fight him,” said Khardassian, who will also move up a weight class to fight Riggs at 185lbs. “I was told about Riggs and that no one wanted to fight him, so I said if you guys are interested in letting me fight him, I’ll jump on the chance. When the promoters told me about the opportunity I was kind of flustered at first, then I thought to myself ‘yeah, let’s do it.’ I’d love to fight him.”
“I think it’s a good match-up,” Khardassian added. “I know I have more experience on the ground than him and of course he has more MMA and striking experience.”
While Khardassian is confident in his abilities to hand Riggs his twelfth professional loss, the 24 year-old-fighter is also quick to credit his next opponent's skills.
“I don’t disrespect Riggs at all,” said Khardassian. “His wrestling is also solid and he’s a vet; I think Riggs knows his jiu-jitsu and obviously his strength is probably his striking. I’m going to go into the fight, see how my opponent acts and work on strategies I’ve been working on for the past little while.”
And as far as Khardassian’s prediction for the September 18th bout?
“I’m going to go in there and shock a lot of people who have no idea who I am.”