On Saturday May 23, 2009, Matt “The Terror” Serra will face Matt Hughes in the main event at UFC 98 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Years of bad blood will finally come to a head as these two former UFC Welterweight Champions finally meet inside the Octagon.
Pro MMA Radio host Larry Pepe had the privilege of speaking to “The Terror” this past week as a guest on his weekly “Toe-to-Toe” segment. Serra talked about the origins of the bad blood between he and Matt Hughes and if he thought there was a chance this fight could put an end to the hard feelings.
Serra also discussed what he felt would be his advantage as well as the biggest downfall for Hughes coming into the fight. He also shared his thoughts on UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva’s recent performance, “Grease Gate,” and more.
When asked where all the bad blood between Hughes and himself began, Serra recalls, “You see him on TUF 2, season two of The Ultimate Fighter, and I’m thinking ‘Oh wow, maybe he’s playing it up for the camera, playing the bad guy or whatever.’ And I had my student on there Luke Cummo. And then you fast forward to season four and then when I was on there, and I dunno, he said he disagreed with my attitude, and I disagreed with his attitude. I don’t like the way he treats people, I think he acts like a stuck up jerk, basically…you see a guy acting a little smug, acting like an idiot…that’s it man, I just don’t like the guy.”
Once the war of words began Hughes called into question Serra’s win over Georges St. Pierre for the UFC Welterweight Title, “Next thing you know he’s telling people what happened with St. Pierre shouldn’t have happened, I got lucky, everybody knows it was a lucky punch, and I wouldn’t even be considered top ten or whatever it was.” Obviously talk like that would not sit well with anyone who had just won the UFC belt.
Serra believes success went to Matt Hughes’ head, “Success in any field you’re in can go to people’s head. I believe it’s more so with fighting cause you have a lot of guys kissing…gassing you up and kissing your ass and next thing you know you can let that get to you. Or you can stay grounded and appreciate where you’re at. I feel he went the other route, Everything went to his head and then he’s walking around like his tool don’t stink.”
Matt Serra talked about the bad blood does give him some extra motivation to train being that he does not want to give Hughes an edge up in any aspect of the fight, especially the preparation. Serra also agrees it is much easier to punch someone in the face you do not get along with.
What are the odds we are going to see Serra and Hughes hug and invite each other to come train at each other’s respective facilities after the fight? “I’m not looking at anything like that. I’m not in that mindset for sure,” stated Serra.
Serra went on, “I wouldn’t even begin to imagine what could happen after this fight. I just want to concentrate that the right things happen during this fight, ya’ know.”
Serra goes on to talk about how he is feeling coming into this fight. He feels his game has evolved, he feels awesome, healthy, and physically the best he’s felt in ages. On the other hand he believes Hughes has lost quite a bit of his athleticism and explosiveness, that he is going to have to rely more on technique, and “that’s where he’s gonna have some trouble.”
Even above the skillful limitations Serra believes will hinder Matt Hughes, “His biggest downfall is going to be his ego,” according to the former champ. “He feels I shouldn’t even be in the same arena with him, much less the cage. He feels he’s bigger than me, stronger than me, he can bench press more, he’s a better wrestler…he thinks he has it in the bag.”
According to Matt Serra, he respects Hughes’ abilities and realizes how dangerous he is and that is the way he is training for the fight. Serra feels this will give him the advantage in the fight because he does not think Hughes gives him that same respect.
To hear everything Matt Serra talked about with host Larry Pepe including his thoughts on Anderson Silva’s recent fights, “Grease Gate,” and much more listen to Pro MMA Radio episode 46 HERE.