The magic of a conversation with Matt Serra
Matt Serra won gold one night in Houston, and he can deliver even more gold during an interview.
You've seen his work on the UFC video blogs back when he was an active fighter. Matt Serra plus video camera plus unfiltered environment equals Internet traffic gold for those involved. Heck, he was so entertaining on his fight week video blogs, the UFC sent him to other fighters' training camps to host their episodes.
And when Serra, of East Meadow, spoke with Newsday earlier this week to say he's "walking away" from MMA -- he couldn't bring himself to say the word "retire" -- the gold kept flowing. But not every gem of a quote can fit into the same story, even in the unlimited space online.
So, below, you'll find some of the leftover quotes. Think of these as outtakes that roll during the closing credits of a movie. Serra talks about the Georges St-Pierre fight, "Game of Thrones" and old pals Frank Trigg and Matt Hughes, among other golden nuggets.
On a minor setback from his surgery . . .
"A week ago, I was sleeping, my side burst open. It seemed like it had to drain more. I could tell fluid was building in it. I went to sleep, I woek up at 3 am full of blood. I lifted up my arm, it was shooting out like you punched a bag full of water."
On taking Lovenox, a blood thinner, for a few months . . .
"I can't stay on blood thinners. I feel like the bubble boy. I can't do anything."
On the end of his MMA career . . .
"I'm one of these guys who's leaving the sport with my chin intact. Next thing you know, now I can't get hit. What the heck is this?"
On the swelling in his left arm from blood clots . . .
"My left arm was getting huge. My right arm already is smaller because I don't have a bicep from when I tore it back in the day getting ready for a UFC fight. So I'm walking around looking like Hellboy."
On completing his recovery in six to eight weeks . . .
"Then I'm back to doing what I love. I need my jiu-jitsu, man. I don't need to spar. I don't to kickbox or box every day. Even if you see me with some pasta, I'm still strangling and arm locking people at least five days a week and I need that. Jiu-jitsu is a beautiful ting, it's a way of life. And it's fun. It's not even to get my aggression out. It's my therapy. I get very antsy when I'm not rolling. I've been on the mats 20 years."
On focusing on teaching BJJ and opening new affiliate schools . . .
"I used my first two UFC checks to open my first school in East Meadow. It went hand in hand. I'd be teaching at my school, now OK, I got a fight coming up. Afterwards, I'd go back to teaching. Now that I'm not going to be fighting, it gives me a lot more time to concentrate on the teaching aspect. The fighting is great, I enjoy it, I need it, because when you're not in there, the closest thing to it is being right outside it. It's like when Rocky was telling Mickey he wanted to mop up. He needs to be around it."
On teaching anyone, not just training pro fighters . . .
"Just as important as that, I love teaching the average Eds, the regular Joes. Renzo [Gracie] said it best when he said it's not about teaching people to fight or teaching armlocks. You're in the confidence-building business. I enjoy kids that used to get bullied or who were afraid to go into junior hgh, then all of a sudden they're confident. They have a different swagger. I love that. To me, that's as important as getting the next champ."
On his career . . .
"Some guys don't know when's the right time to move on to next chapter in their life, and I understand -- because the thrill of fighting, especially the thrill of in the UFC, such emotional moments. The Frnak Trigg fight. The loss to Shonie Carter. The GSP fight, or the Delonte fight. the battles, not just the wins. That stuff, I'll be watching that stuff when I'm in a rocking chair. That stuff stays with you, more so than anything else, anything materialistic. That's the stuff you're taking with you."
On being a dad . . .
"I love spending time with my girls. I'm a very involved dad. Angelina is already arm-locking me, and I have her teaching Maria. It's awesome. They're doing it on the teddy bears. It's awesome."
On retiring and un-retiring . . .
"I don't want to be one of those guys to be like 'I'm done,' and all of a sudden I heal up three months from now, I'm having some good rolling, I start sparring with the younger guys feeling good and I'm like 'Get me on the next card.' But at the same time, I don't want to be in there at 40. I'm gonna be 39, dude. That's weird because I'm still playing Call of Duty at 3 in the morning."
On what it will take to get him back in the Octagon . . .
"That thing opens up at Madison Square Garden and Matt Hughes wants to jump out of retirement, oh God, I'll be in great shape for that fght. I'll get myself up."
On drinking espresso in his backyard now . . .
"Yeah, I did the same thing before I knocked out GSP, though. Actually, no I didn't. I did that before Trigg. Ah, that Trigg fight was fun."
On, well, this one was umprompted . . .
"You watch Game of Thrones? I love that show. I watched that show so much, I read all the books. There's five books in that, I read all five books. You know how many books I've read in my life? Five."
On, well, this one was umprompted too . . .
"I tried talking to -- Who was I talking to? The last guy that, um, knocked out GSP. Oh, that wasn't me talking to nobody, because I was the last guy to do that. I was the only guy to do that and it was fun. The espresso is kicking in, dude."
On why his life story should be a movie . . .
"Let me tell why my story is cooler and is probably gonna be a movie one day. One, MMA is way cooler than boxing. Two, I destroyed the guy [Georges St-Pierre] in the first fight . . . It's way cooler than Rocky. I'm 5-6! Any other victory after that, the Frank Trigg fight, anything else, the battle with Hughes, that's all gravy. I lived my Rocky movie."