Matt Serra Interview 8/2002
OTM: Matty it's been a while since we've seen you. What have you been doing since The Pro Ams in North Carolina?
MS: Man that was a while ago. Just a ton of training a little bit of partying but always back to training. Lately just focusing on my next fight.
OTM: Lets jump back to Abu Dhabi for a second that was a big event for you. How did that change your confidence level?
MS: Man that was big, it really put up at the world class level because of the guys that I beat there. I love it when the odds are against me. When guys don't even give me a shot, like when I had to go against Jean Jacque. Everybody was counting me out. But, that is when I am most dangerous. In that situation I feel it is a no loose situation so I just go in there enjoy it and bring it. I had a great time at Abu Dhabi that is one of the best experiences of my life.
OTM: Then it was straight in to the UFC. How many fights you had so far?
MS: In the UFC I've had 3 fights. I am 2 and 1.
OTM: You are getting to be a veteran in the octagon how has your fighting changed?
MS: In the UF,C my last fight I think was my most impressive. I feel like I did everything that I wanted to do in that fight. I feel like my game is evolving with each fight. I am glad I got my lost out of the way early. In my first fight with only six seconds left I was still in the fight. I feel I have gained a lot of experience having had two real wars in the UFC and one first rounder. I am glad, cause those wars made me a better fighter and I have evolved as a fighter. I am really looking forward to my next fight.
OTM: How do you feel about your next fight against BJ?
MS: Man, BJ is just so dangerous in so many different areas. Some guys are better on the ground, some guys standing up but he is the most well rounded fighter to date that I am going to fight. Man, I am just preparing for everything. If you try to go in there with one specific game plan or one specific strategy and that doesn't work for you, then you can get depressed or stressed out. I am coming up with a bunch of different things and I am training my balls off. I am preparing for a war cause that is what it is going to be.
OTM: The bookies and some people on the internet are counting you on this one. How does that make you feel?
MS: Well fist of all I think most of the guys on the internet are a bunch of jerk offs that can't get laid. Second of all, I love being the underdog. The only other time I was going to be the underdog was with Dean Thomas and they took that away from me cause he got hurt. In all my UFC fights I was always the favorite, not just the favorite but also a big favorite sometimes. In my first time in UFC I was fighting a guy with close to 40 fights. I had only six or seven fights and I was the favorite? Being the favorite is a little more pressure. I try not to let that get to me. In this fight there is no pressure. Everyone keeps saying "BJ's going to knock you out, he's going to TKO you". He is going to do this or that." I love that. I love being the underdog cause that is when I am the most dangerous, similar to Abu Dhabi.
OTM: You excited about having the home court advantage? Getting to fight in front of your hometown crowd?
MS: It's cool cause a lot of people will get to go, but no matter where it is going to be it doesn't make that big of a difference to me.
OTM: Have you been training a lot more standup? Are we going to see more punching from you in this fight?
MS: Ya, I have been training a lot of stand up. People haven't gotten to see my stand up. Because of my first fight where I got knocked out people say I have no stand up. I think people might be surprised, in this game anyone can get knocked out. Most of the top guys have been knocked out before. I think it was just because of the dramatic way I was knocked out that people always say I have no stand up. If you look at each fight, besides those two shots from Shonie where have I been hurt? With Edwards, I think I fought him really smart. If you saw his last fight you know he is a dangerous mofo. I believe he is one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous stand-up fighter in our weight class. I saw his fights. Man, they call him the dentist. Fuck that man, I am taking him to the ground.
OTM: Who have you been training stand up with?
MS: I got some guys. Some pros I box with guys that have been in the game for a while so I am getting my shock treatment. If you look at me now I got one black eye and another one just went away. We'll see if it pays off.
OTM: I stopped by and trained at your school this week. A lot of real tough guys there training. How is your school going and who are the up and coming guys?
MS: The school is really going great. The UFC on Fox is really great it has done a lot to improve my student base. Being on TV gets the guys really excited. We have a lot of students right now. We are really close & it is a very tight group. We are a big family here. My up & coming guys are of course Joe Scrola is my number one guy and my right hand man at the school. Pete "Drago" Sell just won his first NHB fight at the Vanderbilt. Tommy Muller, Gabriel Monster, Chris Schlesinger and of course my brother Nicky.
OTM: What is Nick Serra up to these days?
MS: He is training hard. He was just in the UFC. I am real proud of him he fought like a warrior. It was his first big time show. I think the crowd was fucking horrendous. I think Big John was too influenced by the crowd. It wasn't like Nicky was sitting there locking the game with his guard closed. No offence, I like Big John. I think sometimes that the UFC is catering to the wrong people. People who only want to see the KO. I think they should be education the fans more with submissions. I am proud as hell of my brother.
OTM: Who are you sponsored by now?
MS: Man, I will tell you I am with TapouT and I will be with them for life. Those guys came to me after my Shonie Carter fight, after I lost the fight. Since then I have had a lot of new people call me and offer me more money. To me I am a very loyal guy and they came to me at a point when I lost. Sure, I put on a good show but I lost. They didn't wait for me to get my next victory to come knocking on my door. So I am with those guys.
OTM: Tell us about your Dad, everyone always tells us you have the greatest Dad. Tell us about your dad and how he has supported your career.
MS: My dad is more proud of me than if I was a Lawyer or a Doctor. He loves this. When other kids were playing catch my dad had me watching Bruce Lee on Saturday afternoons. He had me messing around with the Kung Fo back in the day. He is a warrior. He is a purple belt, he is 48 years old and he beats the crap out of the 18 years here. Everyone from Renzo on down, he is known as Papa Serra everywhere, all the academies. He is a great influence for me. I wouldn't be here with out him. I just love him.
OTM: Will we see you at the next Abu Dhabi?
MS: You know it. Abu Dhabi, I hear the next one will be in Brazil. As long as it is not in the Middle East I'm there. I really enjoyed that competition.
OTM: Anything else?
MS: I get a lot of people emailing me off my web site (www.SerraJitsu.com ) it's great. To all the positive people and fans that email me thanks a lot. I really do appreciate it, I really do. To all the guys on the internet that are big talkers you can just blow me!
It was great hanging out with Matty as usual the guy is a real class act. I'd also like to thank all the boys at Renzo's in NYC for the love while I was there. Special thanks to all the guys out on Strong Island at Serra Jiu Jtisu for the hospitality and big Timmy for letting me kick it on his couch! - Scotty