As athletes reach a certain age barrier, usually 35+ years, in such a physically and mentally sport like mixed martial arts, people start to wonder about the intentions behind furthering a career. Some spectators will ask, what is the purpose and does the fighter have something to prove? Among other subjects, this dilemma was posed to former welterweight champion and former Ultimate Fighter 6 coach, Matt “The Terror” Serra, last Thursday by Fanhouse’s Ariel Helwani.
“Look, the question is who do I have to prove anything to? Some say, ‘Oh he got lucky with GSP.’ The best thing about that is, he had a great night the second time and I had a good night the first night,” Serra explained. He also went on to urge the naysayers to re-watch his grudge match with future hall-of-famer Matt Hughes.
“I went on to fight Matt Hughes, one of the most decorated champions in the sport. According to Hughes and everyone else, I didn’t belong in the cage with him and I got lucky with GSP. Go back and watch that Hughes fight and tell me it wasn’t a competitive fight. I don’t feel like a have anything to prove,” expressed the New York native.
Serra (9-6) has a notable history as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner throughout his eleven year career. Currently expanding his ground game under Renzo Gracie’s tutelage, Serra believes he holds advantages on the ground and standing-up over his next opponent, Frank Trigg, who has been fueling the fire from the other side of a recent war of words that was ignited in the last month.
As the verbal exchanges have heated up, Trigg’s (19-7) clothing line “Triggonomics, is a repeated punch-line “The Terror” has fallen back on during many interviews leading up to UFC 109 in Las Vegas.
“He still has the Triggonomics shirts doesn’t he,” Serra laughed, responding to comments made by Trigg in recent interviews stating that he is desperate for a win since he has nothing to fall back on. “Where can I get one of those Triggonomics shirts? Are they in Nordstroms or the Gap? I think the business went under which is a shame because I wanted to rock a Triggonomics shirt.”
All joking aside, Serra holds no animosity towards the 37-year old Trigg like he had during the taping of the Ultimate Fighter season 6 with rival coach Matt Hughes. Right before the reality show, Trigg actually reached out to Serra before the two even met, asking him if could be Team Serra’s wrestling coach.
“Hughes was personal, but Trigg, he’s more like a bad professional wrestler. He just has that shtick ya know? I think he’s hysterical. I said he had a tramp stamp after he called me an angry midget. I may not be tall but I not angry,” mused Serra.
The former champ is on a two-fight losing streak; a TKO loss to current welterweight king Georges St-Pierre and most recently a unanimous decision to Matt Hughes. These are two challenges Serra would love a chance to avenge but accepts the reality of the welterweight landscape.
“Of course I’d like a rubber match with GSP but there would be too many people complaining. I do need a few wins before I can get back to that level,” Serra said. More importantly than a rematch with St-Pierre, Serra is adamant about another shot at Hughes but wants to remind people that he accepts the loss without hard feelings.
“I was really campaigning for a rematch with Hughes. You look back at the fight and there was only one bully. But I don’t know, how do you judge that?” Serra asked. “I was more aggressive trying to finish the fight but I guess he gets more points for being on top of me. But people ask me about it and then I come off like I’m b—hing. I don’t want to be that guy. It’s not a fight that keeps me up at night.”
Serra is not only excited about his own bout with Trigg but he’s looking forward to UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi where mentor and instructor, Renzo Gracie, will have a chance to fight Hughes once everything is official.
“If that goes down, my instructor is gonna avenge me. I’m excited if it does go down. It’s like the opposite, usually the student avenges the teacher—my teacher will avenge me.”
UFC 109: Relentless takes place on February 6, 2010 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card is headlined by Randy Couture facing fellow UFC Hall Of Famer Mark Coleman.