by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
“I’m a huge underdog. I did my homework and I’m going to be prepared. I’m going to try and force him to make mistakes,” said Matt Serra regarding Georges St. Pierre prior to the biggest fight of his career. “I don’t get swept up in the whole hype of things.”
He overcame the odds. He stunned the critics. He did the unthinkable.
“I’ve been the hammer in some fights and I’ve been the nail.”
Last Saturday night, Matt “The Terror” Serra laid the hammer on Georges St. Pierre and pulled off arguably the greatest upset in MMA history. Coming into the fight as a heavy underdog, Serra overcame mountainous odds and became the first fighter to ever finish St. Pierre.
“It was just unbelievable. I did it, I pulled it off,” elated Serra. “He’s a very tough guy. I’m sure if I gave him a little bit of time he would have recovered. I smelt the blood; I saw that he was definitely wobbly and I wanted to finish him off.”
As the first American to earn a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie, the 32-year old fighter is very proud to be under the tutelage of his mentor and attributes his success to him. “Renzo is like family to me; I’m with Renzo forever. I remember where I came from,” graciously expressed Serra. “I’m very proud to be the first American black belt under Renzo and I wouldn’t be where I’m at without him. He’s not just a friend; he’s like family to me.”
Matt Serra has spent most of his career fighting in the Octagon and holds notable wins over Yves Edwards, Shooto Americas Champion Jeff Curran and Ivan Menjivar. After losing a decision to Karo Parisyan at UFC 53, Serra saw an opportunity to put himself back into the spotlight and moved up to welterweight to compete on the Ultimate Fighter. The fourth season of the reality show focused on veteran fighters and was suitably named “The Comeback”. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt defeated Chris Lytle in the finale and earned a title shot at Georges St. Pierre. The rest is history.
Critics scoffed at the thought of Matt Serra getting a title shot, claiming he was undeserving of such a coveted opportunity. Whether he deserved a title shot or not is irrelevant now. The 1999 Pan American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion made the best of an opportune situation and achieved the most defining moment of his career.
So what lies ahead for the newly crowned champion?
Matt Hughes. According to Dana White at the UFC 69 post-fight press conference, former champion Hughes will be next in line to challenge Serra for the welterweight belt.
After his huge win over Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes was seen in the audience laughing and pointing at the fallen Canadian. Serra felt that his actions were very disrespectful and wasn’t hesitant to candidly express his opinion about the Miletich fighter. “I don’t like the guy; I think he’s very arrogant. [He's] disrespectful. The guy wants to talk in the name of God saying ‘he’s a Christian’ and this and that. Why don’t you treat people the right way? I don’t like the way he treats people and I’m sure I’m not the only one.”
“I would love to fight Matt. The thing is this, I feel like a winner already. Even if lose, I get to punch and elbow him in the face,” continued the UFC Welterweight Champion. “Don’t get me wrong, I plan on beating his ***. No matter what happens, the fact that I get to hit that a******, I feel like a winner. I’m not knocking on his past accomplishments. The guy is a great fighter. When I fight him, it’s going to be a very tough and exciting fight. But if I ever talk about myself in the third person… punch me in the face.”
With a renewed confidence, an upcoming wedding and a shiny new belt, Matt Serra looks to the future and continue what he enjoys doing. “Why be in this game if you’re not going to have fun with it? It’s not like I have to fight; I enjoy it. To me, there’s no other way, I love the challenge of it.”
Matt Serra shocked the MMA world. His amazing performance garnered him many new fans and redefined his career. Above all, Serra has finally earned the respect he deserves.
“I’m enjoying this ride no matter where it takes me. I’m just going to leave it in the cage every time. From here on out, I look forward to putting on exciting, memorable fights.”