Eight days before the New Yorker was scheduled to rematch Georges St. Pierre(Pictures) in a UFC welterweight title
fight, Serra was on the road again, speaking with Sherdog.com.
"It's funny," Serra said, "the second you get out of mid-town
tunnel getting into Long Island, there's a huge billboard of me
saying ‘Can he do it again?' with me pointing to the belt. You know
when I give that goofy look. On 45th and Broadway, there's a huge
billboard of me and St. Pierre like King Kong and Godzilla. It's
amazing how far this sport has come."
Sherdog.com: Coming off your back
injury, any hesitancy getting prepared? Were you cautious at
first? Matt Serra: A little less than three
months out I kept doing the rehab and I just took it up from
Sherdog.com: What was the most
difficult part? Rehab? Coming back the first time testing your
back? Any sort of trouble along the way? Serra: The most difficult part is that
I got hurt in December, and you know me with Italian food. Shoot
man, it's crazy. So I'm all laid up and can't do nothing, so I'm
getting a little chubby. But I worked all that off.
Sherdog.com: What's the biggest you
got? How much did you weigh? Serra: Ahh, I never know. I never go
near the scale. I just get chubby. It's nothing new for me. It's
only worse because I couldn't do anything. I couldn't roll. I
couldn't train. But it's not even a problem. A little holiday chunk
that I got off. I'm good to go buddy. People say, "Oh, you haven't
fought in a year." I've been fighting three, four times a week.
That's how I look at it. People might look at it differently, but
they're not sparring the way I'm sparring.
Sherdog.com: You talked about sparring
before your last fight with St. Pierre. You put a lot of emphasis
on that. So, a lot of rounds this time? Serra: Man, I clocked in easily as much
rounds -- probably, I'd say, more intense rounds. I feel [I had]
even better sparring partners this time. So, you know and not only
that, I had some game plans and some strategies. I went in there
last time basically with a strategy that I never really tried to
use before. I never had to rely on that area of my game, which
would be the striking. [Trainer Ray] Longo told me to believe in
it, man. "Look man, look what you're doing with the 16-ounce
gloves. You're hurting the guys with that." I've been in there
enough, I've got enough experience where I can carry through a game
plan. If it's working in sparring, if it's working on the mat,
there's no reason if I pull it off in the training hall, I can't do
it in the fight. And that's exactly what went down in the fight.
That's why I think it's hysterical when people say fluke, or
whatever. People who were in my sparring camps saw me land the same
punches and combination of punches. So it's funny.
Sherdog.com: Yeah, it's almost like you
have to beat St. Pierre twice to get a victory out of it. Doesn't
it feel that way? Serra: Listen, Georges is a likeable
guy. He's definitely a very good poster boy. If you look at him,
he's got the looks. Whatever man. I don't know. The abs. What are
people looking at? They like him. He's like a real life Van Damme.
And then they got me in there, who's the real life Joe Pesci or
Sherdog.com: Aren't you the "every man"
in this fight? You were a huge underdog the last time. You found a
way to beat him. Have you seen a shift in the way people look at
you since, and if you have, has it been positive or negative? Serra: It's funny, there's always both.
I'm a positive guy, so I could care less about this negativity. But
I've got a ton of fan support -- that's not a problem. … I'm not
getting caught up in the hype and I'm not getting fooled. I've been
this game too long, I've fought too many tough guys. Nobody is
going to tell me who I can and cannot beat. I'm the guy in there,
so I could care less what anybody else thinks.