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Strikeforce Challengers: Post Fight Interviews With Riggs, Couture and Tate

Ryan Couture

Ryan was in his dressing room upstairs when he spoke with SB Nation Arizona. I passed his famous father walking out as I walked in.

On pressure of the family name: 

"I didn't really feel it all week but I think just based on how I felt in the ring and actually performing I think it definitely got to me a little bit. I didn't feel as comfortable and loose as I thought I would but I got the result and I got it quick so I'm happy."

On the game plan to fight more standing up:

"That went out the window quick. I couldn't quite find him with my jab, I was aiming a little too high. He's shorter than a lot of the guys I spar with. When I missed the first few times and walked into his right hand I decided to get where I was comfortable and try and get the jitters out with a little clinch work and  ground work and ended up getting the finish before we ended up back on our feet."

How he got the finish:

"I got in that clinch. I was going to work some knees and then just ended up with a good position so I took the take down that was there. In the half-guard I'm not always super stable maintaining top position from half-guard so he was able to scramble up and reverse the position but as he did he ended up with one arm in my guard and one arm out and that's a free ticket to that triangle choke and that's my favorite submission so I knew what to there and slapped it on and locked it tight and got the tap."

If Stark was a reasonable level of competition:

"I think for just starting out, obviously Strikeforce is making in investment in me. Obviously, with my last name I can be a marketable character so I definitely think they didn't want to match me too tough for the first one but he he's definitely on par with the more recent fights I've had at the amateur level so it's a good transition into pro fighting."

Do you want you next fight to be more challenging?

"Definitely, I'd like to continue raising the bar every time out and work my way up and eventually be competing at the top level that there is. You got to start somewhere, I think this was a good start. It took the pressure off to start off with a win. They will definitely raise the bar for me next time now that they've seen what I can do."

Audio:  Ryan Couture post fight

Miesha Tate

On the first fight with Maiju Kujala

"The first fight I got a little bit of muscle pump. My lung, my cardio felt great but there was a little bit of a mix up in the back, we thought that we were going to be the second fight out because of the cards we drew and they switched it. So, I didn't didn't get quite the warm up that I wanted so I felt slow. Being that they were really fast rounds, I felt a lot more warm and poppy in my second fight. The first fight felt like a warm up."

On fighting Akano

"I knew I had to stay really tight and not give her any way to create space to look for submissions. I've got world-class grappling. I go with men all the time and I rarely get submitted. On the ground I have good positioning and I'm very aware of - it's called proprioception - I know where my body is in reference to their body. She got me in that one ankle lock but she didn't have enough strength behind it to finish it so I let her kind of wear herself on it."

On almost having the choke hold

"She was kind of compact. I was under the chin but I couldn't get that other hand out to finish it. She really had that locked up tight so I was trying with the one-arm choke but it just wasn't quite there."

Did your height and reach advantage help?

"I think so. It help me keep her away more. That was kind of the game plan. I wanted to keep it off the ground as long as possible because I knew that was her only chance of beating me. So, a little bit of a different game plan and I think it went well. The thing was to either keep her really far away or really close and I did that. I kept her far away and when we got close I stayed really tight so she wasn't able to get anything."

Facing Sarah Kaufman's striking

"I feel I am strong on the ground than Kaufman but I feel that my striking is really improved a lot. I think what's going to be key to that is mixing things up.

Audio: Miesha Tate post fight

Joe Riggs

On the fight as a whole

"The whole fight he had a style that was hard for me to really connect a punch. He had a real herky-jerky style and athletic. He was trying to counter me coming in so I didn't want to come in and get caught with a stupid shot and get knocked out. I knew I was going to catch him, I didn't know when. I knew it was going to come though."

Finishing the fight

"He threw a body punch and came up with right hook and a left hand and I barely missed it. He did the same thing and the second time I caught him and broke his eye socket and that was it."

"I hit and he tried to shoot and I hit him with a big knee and he goes 'ooh' and he starts making a noise so I knew it was a wrap and I crucifix and got on top and started popping him so that was it."

Audio: Joe Riggs post fight