Joe Giudice Says He's 'Looking Into' Becoming an MMA Fighter: 'I Have a Lot of Aggression in Me'
"I have a lot of aggression in me. I would love to just do it just to go in and fight somebody just because I want to fight somebody," Joe Giudice said
Joe Giudice may be throwing his hat in the MMA fighting ring.
Teresa, 47, sat down with host Andy Cohen, 51, in his New York studio, while Joe, 49, appeared via satellite from Salerno, Italy, where he moved earlier this month to wait out his deportation ruling.
During the hour-long sit-down interview, The Real Housewives of New Jersey couple opened up about the state of their fractured marriage, their future together and Joe’s desire to pursue mixed martial arts.
“Listen, I don’t know. I mean, I’d like to,” Joe told Cohen about rumors that he was becoming an MMA fighter. “I would like to do something.”
“I like that and I tell you why. … I’ve done that my whole life and I’ve always had to pay to go beat people up. Now, you get paid to go do it,” he continued. “And you know something, I have a lot of aggression. I have a lot of aggression in me. I would love to just do it just to go in and fight somebody just because I want to fight somebody.”
Rumors about Joe — who has been in martial arts his “whole life” — possibly pursuing the combat sport sparked after his eldest daughter Gia Giudice, 18, shared clips of Joe in a gallery of martial arts training videos to her Instagram account on Oct. 16. (He also shares daughters Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10, with Teresa.)
“We come back stronger than before ❤️,” she captioned the footage — which showed Joe sparring with his brother Pete, who is staying with him in Italy. “The fights just starting 💪🏼.”
“Zio Pete your a great coach,” she added, with a smile.
On her Instagram Stories, she shared another clip, this time featuring Joe himself speaking out for the first time since his release from an ICE facility. “I’m going to come back and we’re going to fight,” he said. “Gotta fight your way back. Never give up.”
But while Joe has been training for the sport, being in Italy poses a bit of a challenge for the father of four stepping into the profession.
“There’s no MMA around here,” Joe told Cohen on Sunday. “I gotta like practice on my own … The only thing I could do is go up north,” he said, noting Naples as a city that has an MMA school.
“I just got internet the other day, so I mean I found one in Naples, so I’m going to be looking into it,” he said. “I do want to look into it. If we could get somebody from over there to set it up, it would be even better. I mean, I’ll go through the whole training course, everything else.”
He added that during his time in prison, he was teaching some of his fellow inmates about the sport.
“I was even teaching guys in prison,” he said. “We were fighting in prison. I’ve been training literally for like three-and-a-half years.”
Joe has been away from the home he shares with wife Teresa and their four daughters since he began a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in March 2016.
Though Joe has lived in the United States since he was a child, he never obtained American citizenship, and immigrants can be deported if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony,” according to U.S. law.
That ruling came Joe’s way last October. He’s appealed twice so far and has been denied both times. A final ruling is expected in November.
After his release from prison in March, Joe asked to be held in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Clinton County Correctional Center in Pennsylvania while he fought the deportation decision.
A petition to be released back to his home wasn’t granted, but a request to go to Italy was. He was released from ICE custody and flew to Rome, where he has been spending time with family. He is still fighting to appeal his deportation from Europe.
Earlier this month, a source told PEOPLE that Joe’s new physique is due to the lifestyle change he underwent while behind bars. “He lost the weight from changing his diet, working out and no drinking,” the source said.
Before going to prison in March 2016, Joe told PEOPLE he was looking forward to quitting drinking while serving his time after he found himself developing bad habits while Teresa was completing her own prison sentence for the same crimes.
“I am not going to be able to drink for a while, which is good because I don’t even know when it’s been since I haven’t had a drink,” he told PEOPLE in February 2016. “It’s been a long time.”
“Definitely the whole year I drank every day a couple of bottles at night just to go to bed,” he said.
And in September 2016, Teresa told PEOPLE that Joe kept busy in prison by working out, revealing that he lost about 35 lbs. in the first six months of his 41-month sentence.
But while Teresa is pleased with Joe’s physical transformation, the couple’s future together is uncertain.
“I want the best for him. I want him to happy and I want him to be successful. But I don’t know if we could stay together, him living across the country,” Teresa said during the WWHL special, which came days after their 20th wedding anniversary.
In a couple weeks, Teresa will bring their daughters for a visit to Italy. And that trip — which Cohen promised would be filmed for RHONJ — will make or break their marriage, both said Sunday.
“I don’t see it working,” Teresa said when pressed about her past comment that she’d divorce Joe if he was forced to live abroad. She said their children understand her position, too.
Said Joe, “Listen, as long as she’s happy, that’s all that really matters. I’m not going to tell her what to do. If she doesn’t feel like she wants to be with me anymore, then that’s the thing to do.”