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Matt Serra Bio

last updated on: September 26, 2010

Matthew John Serra (born June 2, 1974) is an American former professional mixed martial artist, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who competed for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and stand up comic. He currently serves as a UFC on FOX analyst. Serra defeated Pete Spratt, Shonie Carter and Chris Lytle en route to becoming The Ultimate Fighter 4 Welterweight Tournament Winner. He captured the UFC Welterweight Championship immediately after, becoming the first of only four to win both accolades (along with Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping). Serra also served as the head coach for The Ultimate Fighter 6 reality show opposite Matt Hughes. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Serra holds a Silver Medal in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship.

Serra began practicing martial arts at an early age, first studying Kung Fu. In the 1990s, he began practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie and obtained his Black belt in May 2000, the first American to do so under Renzo. In addition to competitive bouts with (UFC Hall of Famers) Matt Hughes and B.J. Penn, Serra's biggest accomplishment in mixed martial arts came at UFC 69: Shootout where he defeated Georges St-Pierre in a Knockout of the Night award-winning performance to capture the UFC Welterweight Championship.


  • 1 Biography
    • 1.1 Early career
    • 1.2 The Ultimate Fighter
    • 1.3 Winning the title
    • 1.4 The Ultimate Fighter coach
    • 1.5 Rematch with St-Pierre and fight with Matt Hughes
    • 1.6 Retirement from MMA
    • 1.7 UFC Unfiltered
  • 2 Personal life
  • 3 Instructor lineage
  • 4 Championships and achievements
    • 4.1 Mixed martial arts
    • 4.2 Grappling credentials
  • 5 Mixed martial arts record
    • 5.1 Mixed martial arts exhibition record
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


Early career

Serra first began kung fu at an early age. As a teenager he began competing in wrestling. At age of 18 he began brazilian jiu-jitsu and won first place at the Brazilian jiu-jitsu Pan American games in 1999 and won third place at the 1999 World Championships in Brazil in the brown belt division. Continuing his Martial Arts career, he competed in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship choking out Takanori Gomi, winning a decision over Jean-Jacques Machado, and placing 2nd in the 66–76kg division. Serra was invited to compete in Pride 9 against Johil de Oliveira but the bout was called off at the last minute when Oliveira was burned in a pyrotechnics accident backstage. Soon after, Matt began to compete in the UFC organization where he built up a record of four wins and four losses. One of the losses was a close decision fight with future Welter and Lightweight champ B.J. Penn which would have earned him a title shot in the failed Lightweight tournament.

The Ultimate Fighter

Matt later became a participant in The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback on SpikeTV. On the show, Serra defeated Pete Spratt and Shonie Carter to reach the finals, his win against Carter avenging his infamous highlight-reel KO loss to Carter at UFC 31. On November 11, 2006, Serra defeated Chris Lytle by split decision to become the Ultimate Fighter 4 Welterweight Tournament Champion.

His win earned him a guaranteed title shot against Georges St-Pierre for the UFC Welterweight Championship, as well as a $100,000 contract and $100,000 sponsorship with Xyience.

Winning the title

Serra fought St-Pierre on April 7, 2007 at UFC 69, and won the UFC Welterweight title by TKO via punches at 3:25 of the first round. Prior to the fight Serra was considered a substantial underdog and consequently the fight is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.

The Ultimate Fighter coach

Serra coached season 6 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show with Matt Hughes. Team Serra finished 6–2 in the first round of fights, winning six consecutive times which gave Serra the right to pick the fights in the second round. However, from then on Serra did not corner a single fighter to victory and saw all his trainees eventually lose out. The finale saw Team Hughes fighters Tommy Speer and Mac Danzig face each other for the title of Ultimate Fighter.

Serra said in season 6 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show that Joe Scarola lost his job at Serra's jiu-jitsu school for quitting The Ultimate Fighter within the first week of the show. In exchange, Scarola opened his own academy which has created a feud among the two former friends. Relieving Scarola from his duties was difficult for Serra as the two were close friends, with Scarola serving as best man at Serra's wedding.

The two coaches were scheduled to face off for the UFC welterweight title at the conclusion of the series on UFC 79. Serra, however, was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a herniated disc in his lower back. The injury became evident when Serra was demonstrating a move to his student and fell to the floor in excruciating pain. In Serra's place, Georges St-Pierre fought and defeated Matt Hughes for what was then the interim UFC welterweight title. This led to Serra holding the welterweight title while St-Pierre held the interim title.

After St-Pierre vs Hughes at UFC 79, Serra confirmed to NBC Sports that his back was rapidly improving. He announced that he was scheduled to fight Georges St-Pierre at the first event to take place in Canada, UFC 83. This match would unify the interim and regular welterweight belts.

Rematch with St-Pierre and fight with Matt Hughes

At UFC 83 on April 19, 2008, Serra fought Georges St-Pierre in a match to determine the undisputed welterweight championship during the UFC's first-ever event in Canada, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. Instead of striking, St-Pierre pressed the action early with a takedown and kept mixing up his attack, never allowing Serra the chance to mount a significant offense. In the second round, St-Pierre continued his previous actions, forcing Serra into the turtle position and delivering repeated knees to Serra's midsection. When Serra was unable to improve his position or defend against the strikes, referee Yves Lavigne stopped the fight.

Serra suffered a unanimous decision loss to Matt Hughes at UFC 98. Serra hurt Hughes early on in the fight with an inadvertent head-butt and a follow-up flurry of hooks. However, Hughes recovered and went on to win a close decision. After the fight Hughes and Serra embraced each other and ended their feud.

At UFC 109, Serra defeated Frank Trigg via KO (punches) at 2:23 of the first round, awarding him Knockout of the Night Honors. Serra was rumored to be headlining UFC Fight Night 22 on April 17, 2010, versus Mike Swick, but the fight was turned down by Swick due to an arm injury.

At UFC 119 Serra fought Chris Lytle on September 25, 2010. Serra lost the fight via unanimous decision.

In an interview with Ariel Helwani at UFC 131 Serra addressed when or if he would be fighting in the UFC in the foreseeable future. Between the birth of his second child and the rigors of training (Serra himself confirmed that he weighed somewhere around 200lbs. at interview time), he likened his current situation to that of Rocky Balboa in the sixth film of the series, saying that he still "had some stuff in the basement".

Retirement from MMA

On May 22, 2013, Serra retired from MMA, stating he would only return to MMA again to fight at an event held at Madison Square Garden in New York.

UFC Unfiltered

As of June 2016, Matt Serra currently hosts the official UFC podcast "UFC Unfiltered" with comedian Jim Norton as co-host.

Personal life

Serra was born to an Italian-American family and currently resides in Massapequa, New York. Matt and his wife Ann were married on May 26, 2007. The couple had their first child, a daughter named Angelina, on February 11, 2009.The couple had their second child, a girl in April 2011.

Serra has two Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools in Levittown and Huntington, New York. He currently trains with Ray Longo and trains fighters such as former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, Aljamain Sterling, Gian Villante, Pete Sell, Luke Cummo, and Ultimate Fighter Live Finalist Al Iaquinta. They fight under the Serra/Longo Competition Team.

Instructor lineage

Jigoro Kano → Mitsuyo Maeda → Carlos Gracie, Sr. → Carlos Gracie, Jr. → Renzo Gracie → Matt Serra

Championships and achievements

Mixed martial arts

Grappling credentials

Mixed martial arts record

Mixed martial arts exhibition record

External links

MMA Shirts