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Matthew Riddle on his short-lived retirement: 'It all worked out'

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Esther Lin

Even by the standards set by the combat sports industry, Matt Riddle's retirement was a short one.

"Yeah, I don't want to be ‘that guy,' but that's just the way it all worked out," Riddle said.

Just three weeks after announcing his retirement from mixed martial arts, Riddle is ready for his return to the cage. The welterweight will fight an opponent to be named later at Bellator 109 on Nov. 22 in Bethlehem, Penn. MMAjunkie.com broke the news on Thursday.

"I never really wanted to retire," Riddle said in a telephone interview with MMAFighting.com. "I was just frustrated and things came to a head, but that's all water under the bridge now."

Already known as one of the more outspoken personalities in a business full of them, Riddle abruptly announced his retirement on Sept. 9. Riddle had to pull out of his scheduled company debut at Bellator 100, and a dispute over whether Riddle would be able to fight again in 2013 led him to quit.

But as far as Riddle's concerned, it's all in the past.

"They took care of me," Riddle said. "They understood that I have a family to feed and that I have bills to pay. It matters to me that instead of just shoving me aside, they went out of their way to make things work and get me a fight this year."

While Riddle's opponent is yet to be named, the plan is to fight on the November card, then enter the next Bellator tournament in 2014.

"I've signed a bout agreement that's going to pay me for the fight whether or not they actually find me an opponent," Riddle said. "I assume Bellator would rather find someone for me to fight than just pay me to sit home, so we'll wait and see who they come up with and then we'll start to train from there."

Riddle, of course, is a medical marijuana user and has vigorously defended his medicine of choice. It's caused him career issues, as he put together a four-fight win streak in the UFC, only to have two of the bouts overturned due to drug test failures. Riddle was let go after the second failure.

But he's not recognizing the overturned fights. "I'm ready to get back in the cage and keep my win streak going," Riddle said.

As a bonus, not only did Riddle get the fight in 2013 he was looking for, but he'll be fighting in his home state of Pennsylvania, as well.

"I'm telling you man, it all worked out," Riddle said. "I'm from Allentown and I get to fight in Bethlehem. As far as I'm concerned, it's like the past three weeks didn't happen. I still have the same goals I've always had. I'd like to fight until I'm 31 or 32, make some money, hopefully get a chance to win a championship belt while I'm at it."