Matt Serra said a few things, sure, but nothing to the extent that Josh Koscheck has. Still, every time Serra was shown on the big screen inside Montreal's Bell Centre at UFC 83 in April 2008, he was reviled by the crowd. We're talking English Premier League soccer vitriol.
When Serra was actually inside the arena, in sight of more than 21,000 screaming Canadians (and presumably some Americans), the rafters shook. They weren't cheering, though. They were booing. Hissing. Rioting in their lungs. Rocky Balboa was met with more kindness when he went to Russia to fight Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV."
And all Serra had done was beat Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight title one year earlier. Can you imagine what the crowd will do to Josh Koscheck, a villain's villain, when he goes after the title against GSP in the Bell Centre this Saturday at UFC 124?
“It is a brutal crowd if you're fighting Captain Canada in Canada," Serra told Fightin' Words. “I thought the cage was shaking. It was brutal. Brutal. But I don’t think it’s going to effect Koscheck at all because he loves being the heel."
If Koscheck can truly block out the crowd, or use it to fuel himself, he has a chance to beat St-Pierre, Serra said. He would know, too. Serra is the only man in the world to knockout GSP in a professional fight.
“St-Pierre is predictable now," Serra said. "Everyone knows what he’s going to do. But now you gotta stop it."
Easier said than done, of course.
In their first fight at UFC 74 in 2007, GSP took down Koscheck twice and had five submission attempts. Only Dave Menne (once at Fight Night 5 in June 2006) has ever taken down Koscheck (17-4), a superior wrestler, inside the octagon. Despite not wrestling in high school, GSP (20-2) has become one of the most respected wrestlers in MMA at any weight class.