UFC Hall of Famer, TUF 4 winner, former UFC welterweight champion, as well as championship level coach, Matt Serra, just caught up with Bloody Elbow for an exclusive interview. The UFC pioneer opened up about a variety of topics that range anywhere from his monumental upset over Georges St. Pierre to capture UFC gold, to competing against a ‘greased up’ Shonie Carter. We also asked Serra about the differences between the way he was coached, and the way that fighters are coached nowadays, and of course, hilarity ensued.
We also talk a little about the evolution of sport Jiu-Jitsu, and how modern day ADCC is being dominated by leg lockers. As we know, GSP needs a dance partner for an upcoming grappling match, so we had ask Matt if he would be up for a trilogy bout with St. Pierre in a BJJ setting. Matt Serra also puts on his coaching hat to address what’s next for former UFC bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling, and 135-pound challenger Merab Dvalishvili.
The entire interview can be heard below, with contains much, much more Matt Serra!
Matt Serra interview video
Old school coaching vs. new school
- In what ways fighters are coached differently from the way you were coached in your career?
“You know, a ton of things are different. There might be some, a lot more high tech ways of getting in shape. It’s almost like, if you can picture it, like even if the kids didn’t see it, watch Rocky 4. Where you got Rocky in a barn, bench pressing Paulie, and doing military presses with Adrian and a wheelbarrow. And then you’ve Ivan Drago punching a machine that calculates out, you know all that? “
“There’s so many new ways of people… doing different things to, uh… enhance their, their lung capacity. I don’t. I don’t ******* know. You know, there’s a lot of weird **** going on. I don’t know.”
“Like nowadays, besides having a manager, which they have that, they have also a nutritionist, a physical fitness guy, like a PT guy, a guy that stretches them out, a guy that tickles their balls. I don’t deal with any of that ****.”
Shonie Carter greasing?
- What meant more to you, winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 4, or getting your revenge on Shonie Carter?
“It’s funny when I watch that show. I know I had like a pure game plan, but just fight IQ, or time clocked in standing up since then. I’m like Shonie Carter, and this is just the truth of it, he was notorious for, and listen, I don’t give a ****. Nothing keeps me up at night. I could give a **** less about losing to him, or taking backfists that I deserved to take in the second fight.”
“He was literally setting me up. My gameplan back then was very ‘I’m trying to get you down to submit you,’ and I didn’t care if you knew it. So the guy’s leaving his leg out there to drop it to hit me. In hindsight it’s kind of pathetic, but my point was, the guy was greasy as hell! Like slimy, slimy.”
“I’ll tell you about this about Shonie, though. There’s guys that compete, I mean don’t get me wrong, he did grease like a mother******. But there’s guys that compete better than they are in the training room, and he’s one of them. Grease or no grease. He’s got decent wrestling, good wrestling base. He’s got a good outside body lock leg trip, and he’s got decent kickboxing. He’s not bad, but like in the training room, he kind of like, stinks.”
“If you ever train with him, you’re like ‘this is the guy?’ But he’s like he’s one of those guys that he always showed up when he fought. But yes it felt great to beat him, but it felt even better to win the show. Is that what you asking?”
Matt Serra’s favorite finish
- Would you say stopping GSP was your favorite finish?
“Yes, it was my favorite finish. It was wild, and it was weird. I was so in the moment. Like when Big John McCarthy jumped in, then I’m like oh man, it’s over. Like wow, like now I can celebrate. I almost went ape**** and then I kind of calmed myself and did my little handspring. You know, that was my movie. I lived my movie.”
GSP vs. Matt Serra 3 in a grappling match?
- You never got your trilogy with GSP, but he’s currently looking for an opponent for a grappling match. Is that something you would be open to?
“Yeah, I don’t think so. That’s funny. One of my students, literally just was just asking me if I ever get itchy to compete again. Hey, but first of all, don’t get me wrong haha. If there’s like a decent amount, I mean, you know, I do have kids. So if it’s something ridiculous with money, we could talk. We could always talk with that. I’m not against that, but it would have to move me.”
Modern day ADCC
- When you look at ADCC now, I mean it is just riddled with leg lockers. Are you surprised at all by the direction of sport Jiu Jitsu?
“No, no, I get it. Like if they’re very effective, you know. It all has its place. Any way you can break a leg, or get into a leg entry that’s different, and new, and most importantly, effective and efficient. Then do it and add it in. But it doesn’t mean it’s gonna be everybody’s game, you know.”
Matt Serra staying on the mats
“Right now I’m on the mat. I teach, like, the 7:00 AM class like Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I do a 9:00 AM. So I’m on the mats a lot. I teach a lot now. And I have a new knee. You know what I mean? So, I get a little bit more selective on who I’m going to train with. You know what I mean?”
“I rolled my wife before I started talking to you for like, 45 minutes to like, a little bit more than that. And then my kid, I trained with a little bit. I got my three daughters training. So it’s important for me to move with them to develop their game, and that’s fun as heck, you know.”
Next for Aljamain Sterling and Merab Dvalishvili?
- What’s next for Aljamain Sterling and Merab Dvalishvili?
“Yeah, man, we’ll see what goes on with that and who gets the title shot, and who doesn’t? You know what I mean. Obviously, I believe it should be one or the other… You know, I’m not the guy selling the tickets, you know, I don’t know.”
“The thing is this, I’ll never talk about this stuff, like me and Dana won’t talk about this stuff because I don’t have anything, like that’s my relationship with Dana, and there’s my relationship with my guys. So I believe one of those guys should get a shot, but I mean you could look at it from the promotion, they might be looking at like oh he [Sean O’Malley] has that history with Chito. Hey, man, I don’t. I don’t work the promotion side of it. I just know when my guys are getting ready for battle, I’m there. That’s what I do.”
Matt Serra’s G.O.A.T.
“I don’t know, man. I don’t really think about it like that. I don’t think about like ‘this guy is the best ever.’ People can make cases for a lot of people, and I can say, ‘wow, that that sounds pretty good.’ People can make cases for Jon Jones, and I say, ‘wow, that sounds good.’ They make cases for GSP, and I say, ‘you know, I can see that.’ They make cases for Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and I can see that, also.
- Well, if they came at you and said GSP, then you better take credit for that because it wasn’t until Matt Serra that he learned a lesson and then became what he was.
“It’s true. I’ll tell you, man. I don’t think that they give enough credit for him coming back and beating Michael Bisping. I know he had that thing with his eye, and dude, one eye or not, he was still ******* people up. Georges to come back at middleweight and do what he did is pretty wild. Nowadays, I think that gets lost in the time where there’s so many fights that, whatever. Pretty wild that he came back and did that.”
- I remind him every time I see him. I always tell him he’s the G.O.A.T. but he refuses to accept it.
“Yeah, but that that’s part of what makes him the G.O.A.T.”
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