Q&A: Former UFC champion Matt Serra
Posted: November 26, 2009, 5:30 PM by Noah Love
Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra recently dropped by The Fight Network studio in Toronto to discuss his past exploits, what he's up to these days and what the future has in store. Here, TFN's Ariel Shnerer recaps some the conversation:
We know you are a big fan of the UFC Undisputed game. Do you have any insight on the followup game coming out next year?
You know what's funny is they just called me recently to do some graphics and stuff. So I will be in that game and Serra Mixed Martial Arts will be in there also, which is cool, you know? I still play it and it's funny man because I play it online and people talk trash on there. I've got kids on there telling me: "Look, he's even short in the game," and I'm yelling, "Hey, what are you talking about?" I don't use my real name on there. They're fighting Matt Serra in the game but they're really fighting me and they're talking trash. It's just hysterical man. When I think about it, I'm 35. It's pretty sad, but I'm in a video game so it's cool.
The word on the Internet is Matt Serra-Frank Trigg on Feb. 6. What can you tell us about that?
It's funny, you know. I came out here to plug the figurine, and I called UFC this morning and I got the OK to talk about my fight. I just signed on it the other day and they gave me the thumbs up. So yeah, it is true. I will be fighting Frank Trigg — "Twinkle Toes" — on Feb. 6 in Las Vegas. Style-wise, I think that's a fun fight. On paper, that's a fun fight. He's not going to be like Matt Hughes. Even if he does get me down, he's the type of guy that will try to work you over. Matt Hughes was just kind of trying to hold on. Trigg has his back against the wall. I'm coming off two losses fair and square. St-Pierre beat me my second fight. The Hughes fight, whatever. Whatever you want to say about that. But on my record, I've got two losses in a row so I need this and he needs this, so it's going to be exciting.
I know you really wanted a rematch with Matt Hughes. What did the UFC tell you about a potential rematch?
How can you just leave it like that? You can't really walk out of there and make it seem like you beat me. You said you wanted all the blood for your wife and this and that. But I don't want to sit here and trash Matt Hughes only because we did fight. We did have it out. There should be a level respect after you fight somebody. Having said that, I thought I won the first and third rounds. But I'd like to go at it again and have somebody end it. Whatever. We're moving on. Through his manager, he said, "Move on, we're done with it." Who knows? Maybe we'll go at it again. But right now I have Frank Trigg, and just because he got taken out by Koscheck, I don't look at this as an easy fight. He's a wrestler. He's a strong dude. He has got some big wins under him and he's going to be a tough opponent. He's got his back against the wall.
Renzo Gracie, who you have trained under, is rumoured to be coming into the UFC at UFC 109. What are your thoughts on him coming in and his assets at this stage?
I love Renzo man. He taught me everything I know about Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The guy has done so much for me in life in general. He's like a part of my family. That doesn't mean he'll return my phone call right away. I heard this stuff too and I texted him asking what's up. He'll probably get back to me in like a month. He's all over the place man. I tried to track him down. He's over in the Middle East; he's in Brazil; he's a character, you know? He's awesome. He's got experience on his side. He's been in there with some of the best guys and he's fought all over the place. Again, his mind for fighting is very unique. He's going to do fine. I'm excited to see who he's fighting against. The rumour was against (Matt) Hughes. But I know as much as you at this point.
What's the latest on the status of legalizing MMA in New York?
You know, I've done my part. I've spoken to everyone. I don't know where we're having problems getting it legal over there. Why are all these other states and other countries making cash? Why not New York? Especially nowadays, you know. It will help the businesses. It will help New York in general. I don't know what the problem is.
What would be bigger to you: being welterweight champion or being on a card at Madison Square Garden?
You know what? I was the champ, so I can always go to my grave saying I was the champ. But I'd love to fight at the Garden. There's a lot of fight history there, you know? That would definitely be high in my "things to do" list. Shoot, man, it better happen soon if you know what I'm talking about. I'm not planning to retire anytime soon but let's do it at some point in the next few years.
We've seen a lot of catch-weight bouts over the last year. How is fighting at 170 pounds? Have you explored fighting at 160 or 165?
I'm not the tallest at 170, that's for sure. But I still feel I can swim with those sharks. I got the belt at that weight. I've beaten some tough guys at welterweight. I would love to do a catch-weight. Man, people say, "You're 5-foot-6," and, "You should fight at 155." But I'm kind of a thick guy. I make jokes about pasta and pizza. Yeah man, I like that New York stuff. But when I'm training for a fight, obviously I don't eat that. But it's just hard for me to make 155. It's not impossible. I can do it. I've done it in the past. But as I get older, it's even worse. Making 155, you know, those guys down there aren't much easier. You've got to get a hold of those little (expletive), they're fast. I'll be big but a lot of times, guys want to get down to that weight because they want to be a wrestler or be the biggest. But I can fight off my back man. If somebody puts me down, the fight is not going to be over. A lot of the guys, they can't say the same thing. I feel I'm well-rounded enough. My stand-up caught up with my ground game and I can be dangerous anywhere. I'm looking for exciting fights at this stage in my career. If it leads back to a belt, that's phenomenal. My last fight, I won "Fight of the Night." I would love to do that every card. But yeah, I would love to fight at a catch-weight. Those five pounds suck. [But] 160 or 165, I would love it.
Would you coach again?
Yeah. I would definitely consider it. I had a blast. Believe it or not, I really enjoyed being on [The Ultimate Fighter], not that I want to be back in there. It was a rich experience coaching. You got a bunch of guys and you end up caring for the guys and next thing you know, they've got to fight each other. It becomes a little bit of a circus.