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PizDoff
1/03/2008 9:59pm,
UFC welterweight champion Serra says he is ready to meet St. Pierre challenge

UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra says he will be ready to defend his title in April against Canadian Georges St. Pierre in Montreal.

The 33-year-old from Long Island, N.Y., has yet to resume full training from the two herniated discs in his lower back that forced him out of the recent UFC 79 grudge match against Matt Hughes in Las Vegas. But he says April sounds doable, even if it means venturing into hostile territory north of the border.

"I'm definitely up for that," he told The Canadian Press in an interview.

Serra has not fought since he upset St. Pierre to win the title at UFC 69 last April. He can't wait to get into the cage again. And he also doesn't want to run the chance of any more bad luck coming his way.

St. Pierre stepped in for Serra in mid-November when the champion hurt himself training for the Hughes fight in Las Vegas. The UFC elected to make the Hughes-St. Pierre match a five-round bout for the interim championship with the winner advancing to face off against Serra to decide the 170-pound crown for real.

"I always try to find the positive in things but people around me were upset, more so than me," Serra said of the UFC's decision to put part of his title on the line while he was sidelined.

And given that decision, anything could happen so better get in the cage fast, Serra argues.

"I've got to be realistic. I don't know what they're going to do," Serra said. "I feel like I'm friendly with everybody but business is business and who knows? I know they like Georges, it's not that they don't like me but I don't know. He might be more of a better poster boy. Who knows?"

Talking to Serra, one gets the sense that he is slightly irked at the way things have gone over the last year since he beat St. Pierre in the Canadian's first title defence.

Serra agreed to serve as coach on Season 6 of "The Ultimate Fighter," which delayed his own first title defence until the show had run its course. His back injury derailed the Dec. 29 grudge match with rival coach Hughes and then Serra had to sit by and watch as St. Pierre and Hughes fought for the interim title.

St. Pierre submitted Hughes in the second round and Serra, who hosted a closed-circuit viewing of the fight at Madison Square Garden, had to watch as the "interim" championship belt was given to the Canadian.

"Man, what am I going to do?" he said. "I mean I'm the one who got injured. It's really kind of ridiculous that they did the thing with the belts. But whatever. . . . It is what it is, dude. I roll with that stuff and I try not to take it too personal. I just do my thing."

Serra also notes he waited for St. Pierre to heal when a knee injury forced them to postpone their meeting from UFC 67 in February to UFC 69 in April.

"I thought nothing of it because guys get injured," said Serra.

"The first time it's ever happened to me happened to be one of the biggest fights which was very upsetting to me. But again I made the right decision. It wasn't even much of a decision. I couldn't fight in that condition."

After losing to Serra, St. Pierre has looked rock-solid in beating Josh Koscheck and Hughes in his subsequent fights.

"Now he's back in full force." Serra said. "And now he's back into this MMA god that people hype him up to be. And I don't mean that disrespectfully because I really like Georges. I do. I think he's tough as hell. But it's the same thing I said before. Nobody's invincible."

Serra proved that at UFC 69. A 10-1 underdog who only got a title shot after winning Season 4 of "The Ultimate Fighter," Serra was seen as canon fodder for the Canadian. One right hand changed all of that.

Watching UFC 79 pass him by was "extremely upsetting," he said.

"Again you roll with that kind of stuff. There's more people with bigger problems that than. I'll get my shot back in there."

Serra says he is not in pain these days although his back remains tight. A recent injection in the spine has helped speed his recovery.

The 170-pounder had fought with a torn bicep and torn meniscus in the past, but had never had any back problems. It's been a painful experience.

"Some stuff's just too hard to work around," he said. "For a couple of weeks afterwards, my wife was putting my socks and shoes on. It was brutal."

Serra is back doing "everyday stuff" but is only now beginning to resume some form of training. That hasn't helped his weight, he acknowledged.

"You know me. I get chubby real quick," he said cheerfully, comparing himself to Robert De Niro's ballooning Jake La Motta in the film "Raging Bull."

As for fighting in Montreal, Serra looks to another boxing movie - "Rocky 4" - when Rocky Balboa flies to Russia to take on Ivan Drago.

"Same thing, but just put the little Italian guy in Canada. That's me. I like it, I like it, man."

"I take no offence at people in Canada yelling for me to die," he added.

Serra was rooting for Hughes to beat St. Pierre, because he wanted to fight him next. But he says the two may still tangle in the cage.

"Too much has been done for us not to go at it, me and that guy," said Serra.

Hughes echoes that view, although he sees a Serra meeting coming after the champion loses to St. Pierre.

"I'm going to take some time off and think about things," Hughes said on his website matt-hughes.com. "I've already talked to Dana and (UFC co-owner) Lorenzo Fertitta, and we'll probably see what happens with Georges and Serra. And if Serra loses, I might go against him. Nothing is set in stone, just an idea right now."

NOTES - Randy Couture is opening an Extreme Couture gym in Canada, the first of four such gyms planned north of the border. The gym will be located on Kipling Avenue north of the Queensway in Etobicoke. Instructors include Brent Beauparlant, Chris Horodecki, Mark Hominick and Jeff Joslin.

http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5h9Bx-01och4GyNygQPEj3vphK78Q

GSP vs Serra in Canada would be perfect for fans and the org!

The Question
1/03/2008 10:10pm,
Rematch!

Goju - Joe
1/03/2008 10:22pm,
"NOTES - Randy Couture is opening an Extreme Couture gym in Canada, the first of four such gyms planned north of the border. The gym will be located on Kipling Avenue north of the Queensway in Etobicoke. Instructors include Brent Beauparlant, Chris Horodecki, Mark Hominick and Jeff Joslin."

For f^%ks; sake how many kick ass places have to open within 10 minutes of me???

Serioulsy it's kind of annoying

GoldenJonas
1/03/2008 10:23pm,
two great fighters who are nothing but good for the sport, Serra and GSP.

Can't wait for the rematch.

hoodedmonk
1/03/2008 11:03pm,
I still want to see him fight Huges for the fun of it. after all I did have to sit through another season of Tuff. Well ok a few episodes.

hapkido_keith
1/04/2008 2:13am,
"I take no offence at people in Canada yelling for me to die," he added.
I just wanted to repeat that.

WorldWarCheese
1/04/2008 3:04am,
Wow, this turned out better than could be hoped IMO. A good rematch, Hughes still willing to tango and in Kuh-nay-dee-ah where you'd get some hometown fans for GSP and America can feel superior-er when he looses.

Bear1980
1/04/2008 4:33am,
Hmm cant help but think GSP is gonna destroy Serra this time round.

Still i would like to see Serra vs Hughes sometime soon.

Odacon
1/04/2008 12:12pm,
I just hope he doesn't rush back too soon and injury himself again.

Subparr
1/04/2008 1:39pm,
Honestly, with GSP being prepared, I don't see how Serra will have an answer for him this time.

Teh El Macho
1/04/2008 1:44pm,
I just hope he doesn't rush back too soon and injury himself again.QFT. Herniated disks are the type of **** one should not **** around with.

new2bjj
1/04/2008 1:49pm,
You never know. It may be the old Scissor, rock, paper deal. Frazier beat Ali, Foreman Beat Frazier, Ali Beat Foreman and Frazier and Frazier could never beat Foreman. Now, there were some size differences with those 3 champions, but for all we know, Serra might have the key when it comes to GSP. I like them both, and it should be a good fight, that's for sure. I'm with El macho on the back thing, but there was that guy that had some new surgery a few UFC's back, and he was good as new.

The Question
1/04/2008 3:42pm,
You never know. It may be the old Scissor, rock, paper deal. Frazier beat Ali, Foreman Beat Frazier, Ali Beat Foreman and Frazier and Frazier could never beat Foreman. Now, there were some size differences with those 3 champions, but for all we know, Serra might have the key when it comes to GSP..

What the ****?

new2bjj
1/04/2008 3:58pm,
What I meant was, Ali, Foreman and Frazier were all about 20 lbs different and had some big height differences between the 3. They were heavyweight Champions at one time, just so you know, back in the dinosaur days, before the internet. Serra beating GSP doesn't equate to Serra Beating Hughes and so on, like scissor beats paper, rock beats scissor and so on. Oh forget it.

The Question
1/04/2008 4:06pm,
What I meant was, Ali, Foreman and Frazier were all about 20 lbs different and had some big height differences between the 3. They were heavyweight Champions at one time, just so you know, back in the dinosaur days, before the internet. Serra beating GSP doesn't equate to Serra Beating Hughes and so on, like scissor beats paper, rock beats scissor and so on. Oh forget it.

Yes. Yes. Forget it I will.

Goju - Joe
1/04/2008 4:11pm,
I understand New2bjj's analogy perfectly

I wonder if because GSP has trained at Renzo's and has such a high opinion of Renzo's BJJ that he's afraid of taking Serra down.

If serra knows GSP is afraid to shoot then he becomes a much more dangerous striker

However I don't think GSP will be afraid