September 2010 was the last time we saw you throwing leather inside the Octagon. What has Matt Serra been up to since then?
I have my third baby girl coming in June. Between running my two BJJ academies, training up-and-coming fighters, and spending time with my family, it’s a pretty hectic schedule. I definitely have a lot to keep me busy.
Dana White loves to give you shit. During one of his recent video blogs, he was on camera making fun of how much weight you’ve gained. Is making welterweight still possible?
I would never fight in any weight class but 170 pounds. But let me tell you something, I think Dana has a few weight issues of his own. Not everybody can walk around looking like Lorenzo Fertitta. Dana is my buddy, and we like to break each other’s balls all the time. The good thing about Dana is that he can give it, but he can also take it as well. I don’t mind catching shit from him because it’s funny. Do you know what the worst part of being 5’6” and chubby is? Well I’m 5’6” and chubby, so you better watch your mouth. People like to give me shit about my weight, but I’m actually on the mat a bunch. The problem is I like the pasta.
Are you surprised people still want to see you fight?
I have great fans, but I hate saying that. It just sounds weird saying, ‘Oh I have all these fans.’ But the people that support me and enjoy my fighting—I love that, man. I am very blessed to have the career that I’ve had. It is a very rough game, and I’m very lucky to be where I’m at.
What are your thoughts on your MMA generation moving on?
I have nothing but respect for the guys I’ve fought. It’s kind of weird to say that you share a bond with them, but I always wish them the best. You went through something with them. You battled them. Every time I see B.J. Penn, it is nothing but a big hug. Chris Lytle is a good friend of mine, and a lot of the guys I’ve fought I have a tremendous amount of respect for. When you are fighting in the UFC and you get your hand raised on that big stage, the glory is something you just can’t duplicate, and it’s something you are never going to experience again for the rest of your life. It’s like telling a woman she can never have a baby again. It’s very emotional, and I understand that. I’m no different. An aging fighter is like an aging stripper, but not as funny. Nobody wants to see that. By the way, that analogy is mine, motherfu*ker.
What has it been like to watch Chris Weidman progress and see him get this opportunity against Anderson Silva?
I’m really proud of Chris, and I really like all these young guys we are training. If you are hanging out with [Ray] Longo and me, you are alright because we are on a different level. We make jokes and this and that, and people look at us because we throw the F-bomb around, but we are good people, and we breed good people. All of these guys we train are good human beings. Guys like Al Iaquinta and Costa Philippou are definitely good people. Costa is a funny guy, and he sounds like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld when he talks. Chris Weidman and these guys are not only solid people, but they fight their asses off. Win or lose, they are putting it out there, man. They aren’t going in there and trying to squeak out wins. They are going into that cage to take people out. I’m happy to be associated with all of these guys.
You can’t mention Matt Serra without the topic of the greatest upset in MMA history against Georges St-Pierre coming up.
That is obviously the most talked about fight in my career. That fight was my Rocky story. In the movie, Rocky went the distance with the champ, and even though he lost, it was a moral victory because he survived. My story is better, dude. For starters, it’s mixed martial arts, and MMA is cooler than boxing. But the moment I landed that big punch and it kept going until I finished him off was incredible. That fight is so special to me that anything that happened afterward was just gravy. I could have never fought another day in my life and died a happy man.
Will we ever see you in the Octagon again?
I’m ready to move on with my life. But if I had one last chance to close the chapter on my career against the right opponent, I would definitely entertain the thought. I would have liked one more fight against Matt Hughes, but it looks like that isn’t in the cards. Sean Sherk is another guy who I think would be interesting. I’d like to fight another veteran like Sherk, because a match-up like that would make me excited to fight. But if I had to walk away from the fight game today, I would be a happy man.