Welterweight champ ready for GSP rematch


Matt "The Terror" Serra.

The name alone is enough to let you know this guy has charisma—and balls the size of Atlas stones. But when he landed what seemed to be a thousand punches to the grill of the then-feared Georges St. Pierre en route to a TKO victory and the UFC welterweight championship back in April of 2007, "terror" was all that spectators could think of to describe the scene. "GSP" was beaten about as badly as a fighter can be beaten in the Octagon, despite being a heavy favorite to the smaller, less experienced Serra. Now, just over a year later, Serra and St. Pierre are getting set to tangle again in this weekend's (April 19) highly-anticipated UFC 83.

Serra, who has not fought since his win over GSP due to a back injury, says he is fully rehabbed, injury-free and that training has gone better than he could have hoped. The champ chatted with M&F between training sessions this week.

M&F: How has your training gone in preparation for this fight?

Serra: Training has been excellent—sparring, rolling. Mentally, physically, I'm ready to go buddy.

M&F: What's a typical training day like for you?

Serra: Well there's the technical part, which is sparring and technique, watching fight tapes and all of that stuff. Then there's the physical part which is crazy demanding. Plyometrics, sprints, long distance runs—all that fun stuff.

M&F: What kind of distance runs do you do?

Serra: When I do my long, low-intensity runs, I stay on the treadmill for 45-50 minutes and that's not at a fast pace. When I do that it helps me keep my head straight and keeps the furnace burning. Then for sprints, it's the football field. I go out there with my coach Ray Longo—he's like a mad scientist. I'll go out to one goal post and do 25 push-ups, then to another goal post and he has me do all sort of other exercises. And it's back and forth until he stops the torture.

M&F: Obviously, strength is a factor, especially in close-quarters. What kinds of things do you do for strength?

Serra: We circuit train. I'll start on the bike for a minute and after that I head to the other stations. I'll push the (weighted) sled back and forth three times, then head over to pull-ups where I sprawl, come-up, pull-up, sprawl, come up, pull-up. Then I do dips and then isometrics where I basically hold myself up on the chin-up bar. I throw the medicine ball off the wall, squats with the dumbbells, squats with the dummy. That's pretty rough.

M&F: Is there anything you do differently diet-wise getting ready for a fight?

Serra: Yeah, I don't eat anything I like! It's basically chicken and brown rice, ostrich steak, bison burgers, Lean Body shakes. My normal diet is rotini pasta and pizza. Right after fights, dude—after I won the title, my after-party was full of the worst Italian food known to man.

M&F: Do you use any supplements or vitamins?

Serra: I take glutamine, vitamin C and protein shakes. Nothing crazy.

M&F: When you hurt your back, did it ever cross your mind that you might not fight again?

Serra: A lot of negative things pop up when you can't touch your toes, you know? Once I started getting on the mend, I started thinking positive.

M&F: You TKO'd GSP in your last fight. How much of an advantage do you think that gives you going into this fight?

Serra: I think that's a huge advantage. I beat him down the first time. I knocked him down a few times with strikes and that's not my major strong point. I'm known for my jiu-jitsu.

M&F: What's your prediction for how this fight is going to go?

Serra: He might try to take me down a lot but I'm doing my homework and making sure my jiu-jitsu is where it should be. He's not gonna wanna be on top of me in this fight. I'm gonna make sure my guard would never be a place he'd be comfortable. I think this is gonna be an action-packed fight. He's got something to prove and he's going to try to make an example of me—that's what I would try to do to him. That's great because I'm the best when somebody's trying to hurt me. I'm looking at it like this: it's not gonna go the distance. One of us is getting taken out and I'm doing my best to make sure it's not me.

M&F: Thanks a lot, Matt. Good luck!

Serra: Thank you.

Matt Serra

Nickname: The Terror
Height: 5'6"
Weight: 170 lbs.
Birthdate: June 2, 1974
Hometown: Long Island, New York
Fighting styles: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kung Fu
MMA record: 9-4, 4 submissions, 1 KO

For more on UFC 83—including ordering information for this weekend's fight—or Matt Serra, visit Also visit Serra's personal site at

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