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Old 02-11-2009, 12:31 PM
KevinD
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Default - SERRA LOOKS FORWARD TO 2009, HUGHES FIGHT

- SERRA LOOKS FORWARD TO 2009, HUGHES FIGHT
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - by Mick Hammond - MMAWeekly.com

While limited to only one fight in 2008, it could be said that last year was possibly the most important of former Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder Matt Serra’s career.

After shocking the MMA world with his win over Georges St. Pierre at UFC 69 in April of 2007, he entered last year with a newfound level of respect for how he rose to the top of the welterweight division, via hard work and dedication.

It was with that same admiration that fans continued to support him after losing to St. Pierre in their rematch at UFC 83, cementing his place as one of the sport’s most popular fighters.

“2008 was a great year for me besides losing to Georges,” chuckled Serra with his usual good-humored nature. “Besides from that, personally – my schools, my family, everything is great – I always try to see the positive things.”

After missing much of the last couple years due to injury, he is eager to return to action this spring.

“I had a bruised ulnar nerve which took a lot of time for me to get back to rolling or sparring,” he said. “I needed to just rest my right elbow and I couldn’t do anything too physical as far as grappling or sparring or any kind of thing.

“In two years or whatever I fought twice, which isn’t something you plan on. Injuries are a part of a game; and not only that, but Matt Hughes was injured, so I figure that worked out well. That was the next fight I wanted regardless anyways.”

As Serra recently confirmed, it appears he’ll have his long awaited showdown with his fellow “Ultimate Fighter Season 6” coach, Matt Hughes, in Las Vegas on May 23.

After the disappointing loss to Georges St. Pierre last April, he is determined to show people what he’s truly capable of in his return to MMA.

“Obviously when you’re coming off a loss and you feel you didn’t fight to the best of your ability or was the best example of what you can do, of course you want to showcase other skills,” he stated. “Do I feel like I can do better than in my last fight? Yes, in every area.

“That was his night and he was definitely on, his timing was on and he had the right strategy. It was just not my night and no excuses are to be made. So, do I feel like I could have had a better showing or I am better than that? Of course I do.”

Not only is Serra looking to make 2009 a breakout year for himself, he’s also got big plans for the Serra-Longo Fight Team.

“We’ve definitely got some tough up and coming fighters appearing on local shows that you’ll be hearing a lot more about in the upcoming months,” he stated. “I have a lot of young guys that are fighting on Lou Neglia’s (Ring of Combat) Show at the Tropicana on February 20.

“Other than that, I believe (Pete) Sell’s fighting Matt Brown (at UFC 96 on March 7 in Columbus, Ohio). It’s definitely an awesome match-up and I’m excited for ‘Drago’ for that. The team’s never looked better – everybody is just growing and we’ve got the next generation of fighters coming up, and it’s really exciting.”

After years of working hard to find his way to the top, Serra now looks to make the best of all opportunities, personal and professional; proving he belongs at the pinnacle of the sport for some time to come.

“Definitely keep an eye out on the team; we’re going to make big waves this year,” he concluded. “Other than that, just tune in on May 23 in Vegas. I’m looking forward to my fight with Hughes, I think it’s a fight we both personally want, the fans want, and is unfinished business.

“I’m excited about it and it’s all I’m thinking about right now. I’m training, training, and more training; and I’m going in there the best I’ve ever looked.”
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