Smack Talk and Back Talk
By Tom DeFazio
Matt "the Terror" Serra made his UFC debut last year, quickly becoming a fan favorite with his aggressive style. Matt returns to the UFC on March 22nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. For his latest outing, he is dropping down in weight and will enter the Octagon in the 155lb weight class to face Din Thomas (ranked 5th in the FCF world rankings). A confident Thomas, who submitted current UFC lightweight champ Jens Pulver in August of 2000 at WEF 10 (video available in the FCF shop), has apparently been doing some pre-fight smack talk. Matt has some choice words of his own on the matter…
FCF: So what have you been up to lately? I understand you’ve opened up a new school AND you’re dropping down to lightweight for a fight against Din Thomas at the next UFC, isn’t that a bit much to be taking on all at the same time?
MS: Actually no, it’s no problem at all. The [new] school is going great. My mat time in the jiu-jitsu has actually picked up with the new school cause I’m always mat — I literally live at the academy. I get to roll all the time now. Teaching never becomes a problem, because my brother Nick and [student and upcoming MMA fighter] Joe Scarola pick up the classes for me so I don’t have to teach as much; plus I still see Renzo every week.
FCF: How’s the weight loss coming? You normally walked around at what? 175? Twenty pounds is a big chunk to cut off your frame. What are you doing to drop the weight? Are you going to cut off a limb?
MS: Right now, 9 weeks before the fight, I’m already walking around at under-170, so it’s going well. I’m working with a nutritionist.
FCF: I assume the nutritionist has cut out your beloved pizza. Are you suffering withdrawal symptoms?
MS: Discipline has a lot to do with it, one of the things I look forward to after the fight is celebrating by going over to my mother’s house for some homemade pizza.
FCF: What motivated you to drop to lightweight?
MS: Last UFC, without even trying, I weighed in at 164. I came in at that weight naturally, without even training hard or dieting.
FCF: Are you planning on staying at 155?
MS: I’m gonna see how I feel after this fight. I think I’m gonna be a real force to be reckoned with at that weight; instead of being one of the lighter guys in that division as I was at welterweight, I’ll be one of the bigger guys; and with my style, I think it’ll fit perfect ’cause I’ll be quicker and stronger and more explosive and I’ll be able to go in there and go ballistic!
FCF: What’s your weekly training regimen like?
MS: I train 2-3 times a day. I get my running in early in the morning, after that I rest a little bit, and do a hard calisthenics and plyometrics workout; and then in the evening I do my wrestling and jiu-jitsu; I also add in kickboxing and sparring 4 times a week.
FCF: I understand Din Thomas has been talking about you, something about wanting the whole world to watch the beating he’s going to give you…
MS: Yeah, I heard about that, one of my students brought that in, what he said about me on the Internet… I think it’s cool that he’s confident, that means he’ll bring it to me instead of being on his bicycle like the last guy who talked smack. You remember [Yves] Edwards? The guy who said he was gonna knock me out. I predict Din will have just as much luck as Edwards did. For some reason I do better — I get more motivated or whatever — when guys talk shit, maybe it’s that old streetfighter in me coming back out.
FCF: What’s your gameplan for the fight?
MS: Just like for the Edwards fight, I have tapes of Din and will study them and find the right way to beat him… I’ll be strategic and aggressive, I’m not gonna just jump to guard and lay there hoping he leaves his arm out for me to arm lock him. I plan on being in great shape, so I can bring it to him. If it goes 15 minutes, I’m gonna make sure it’s 15 minutes of hell for him.
FCF: Do you have any other comments for Din?
MS: Yeah, in response to what he said… we’ll find out in 9 weeks who’s gonna get the beating, Din’s definitely a guy a who comes to fight. He’s an aggressive fighter and a tough guy and so am I, it’ll be like two trains on the same track speeding towards each other. Only it’s gonna be him crawling out of the wreckage with a broken limb. It’ll be a flashback to when my teammate and good friend Rodrigo Gracie snapped his arm but then let go when he screamed in pain. The only difference this time is the ref’s gonna need a crowbar to get me off him.
FCF: Are you planning on competing in any submission tournaments this year? Abu Dhabi? BJJ PanAms? The Mundials? Or are you focusing on NHB?
MS: I’m just focusing on NHB. I would have gone to compete in Abu Dhabi this year if it weren’t for all the crap going on in the Middle East.
FCF: What are your thoughts on your teammate Ricardo Almeida’s fight with Andrei Semenov?
MS: I thought that Ricardo fought with heart and brought the fight to him, he just got caught with a punch… it can happen to anybody. Nowadays you can’t name any top fighter that fights aggressively that hasn’t had a loss. You look at all the champions — whether it’s the UFC, Pride, wherever — they’ve all had a loss. Do they just give up? Do they just quit after that loss? No, the loss makes them stronger and they come back and they become champions. Ricardo’s a warrior and he’ll be back stronger than ever!
FCF: Any final comments?
MS: I just want to thank all the guys that support me… all the fans, my friends and especially all my teammates and family at Team Renzo Gracie. And of course Renzo, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Also, tune in March 22nd to see whose predictions will pan out, mine or Din’s. Either way, I promise you it’ll be a sick fight!