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Serra says he’ll be ready for St. Pierre in April

UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra indicated in a recent interview with the Canadian Press that he believes he’ll be ready for a possible unification match with UFC interim welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in April:

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.

It’s believed that the match between Serra and St. Pierre will take place in April in St. Pierre’s hometown of Montreal.


  • Wang Chung says:

    although i think georges is going to go into that fight extremely determined and confident, i can’t completely shake the upset factor for serra…whether you like him or not, he’s definitely a warrior, and a confident one at that.

    still…he’s going to get demolished.

  • Craig R. says:

    I agree with Wang Chung. Serra is a tough dude. I sure hope GSP has already started training for the fight and watching videotape to breakdown Serra. It could happen again, although it is unlikely.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    The UFC ought to require Serra to fight Hughes first with the winner to face GSP. If Serra fights GSP and loses, which seems likely, there would be little value in a subsequent grudge match between Serra and Hughes. On the other hand, if the grudge match between Serra and Hughes comes first with Serra’s belt on the line, it would only increase the appeal of a subesequent match with GSP. If Hughes won against Serra, it would be the rubber match between GSP and Hughes and would unify the belt. If Serra won against Hughes, a subsequent fight between GSP and him would still be a title fight with the added drama of a re-match.

  • glock says:

    For me it’s just the opposite.

    I think we all want to see Serra Hughes so they should try to make it happen.
    Serra is a great guy and a good guy for the sport.

    I have no interest in another GSP Hughes. 2 out of 3 (almost 3 out of 3) is enough for me.

  • JacRabbit says:

    Im sure Hughes and Serra will fight again after GSP regains the title. Dont worry folks, we’ll get to see all 3 combinations of the matchups

  • Chalfontcobra says:

    GSP KO’s Serra, Hughes GNP’s Serra

  • mike wolfe says:

    We have to get some clarity on Serra’s back problem. There is a huge difference between bulging discs and herniated discs. Bulging discs can cause pain, but they can improve in the sense that they become less painful. It’s also possible for the amount of the bulge to decrease. In contrast, herniated discs don’t improve and remain herniated. The only way to fix them is surgically, and the recovery from that is extensive. Unfortunately, many patients who undergo the surgery still have symptoms after the procedure. Bottom line, if Serra really has herniated discs in his low back, a return to MMA seems unlikely. Any neurosurgeon or orthopaedic surgeon would recommend against such activity after the surgery. The malpractice exposure would be huge if they didn’t.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Mike, you’re wrong.

    While the structural damage from a herniated disk doesn’t improve without surgery, it is possible for your condition to improve without surgery. There are shots and also a rehab program you can go through. It often doesn’t work for many, but it does work for some.

    You’re also just flat out wrong about a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon recommending against MMA after surgery. How do I know? I’m living proof. I had a massive herniation and a disk fracture and had major surgery to repair it. I had to get cleared by a neurosurgeon before starting MMA training in order to ensure my insurance would cover me if I was injured. Granted, I wasn’t competing at a pro level, but I was training full-time with and against people who were pros. I got a clean bill of health and full clearance.

    While the percentages are against someone having major back surgery being completely symptom-free post-surgery, it’s still possible. The better condition you are going into surgery, the better your chances. As a pro athlete, I would think Serra has a shot if he were to undergo surgery.

    While I don’t know for sure, the fact that Serra couldn’t walk after he initially sustained the injury suggests to me that he does in fact have herniations as opposed to bulges. But it is possible that his condition has improved through non-surgical procedures. Obviously, if he needs to undergo surgery soon, there’s no way he’d be recovered enough in time to fight in April.

    If I was a betting man, I think Serra is probably undergoing a series of epidural shots that could allow him to fight in April.

  • mike wolfe says:


    Certainly it’s none of my business, but did your surgeon say that MMA was a good idea, or did he say that it was up to you after discussing the risks?

    As far as epidural shots are concerned, they’re very specific to the patient in terms of whether they work at all. Even if they work, moderate trauma can cause the discs to become irritated again, and the symptoms reoccur quickly. As in during the fight itself, perhaps. Has that ever happened to you? Furthermore, there’s always the risk of worsening herniations.We’ll see whether the fight goes forward.

  • Sam Caplan says:


    I went to a few different surgeons because I was injured from training Kung Fu and I knew no matter what, I still wanted to do martial arts after the surgery. The first two surgeons wouldn’t guarantee I could train again. I found a surgeon who had operated on athletes (even though I wasn’t one) and he used a slightly different procedure than what the others wanted to do. He didn’t believe in any kind of fusion. Instead, he removed the part of the disk that was protruding along with the piece of disk that broke off from the main herniation that was lodged against my spine. That was the conventional part. The unconventional part was that he removed a small piece of vertebrae below the herniation. The idea was for enough scar tissue to build up in that area by removing bone so that I’d have some cushion in that region.

    The removal of the bone made the initial recovery process much tougher than it normally would have. I was pretty much bedridden for a month until the scar tissue had built up. I saw in so much pain initially I really started to question why I went the route that I did. But he told me up front that the recovery would be tough but that once I started turning the corner, I’d be making quick progress.

    True to his word, he was right. I started training MMA for the first time ever almost a year later and about 3 weeks after training I did my first smoker.

    In regard to the epidurals, I had to go through them before surgery. The shots did wonders for a month and I felt completely better. Then, one day I bent down to pick something up and my back went out again, this time even worse.

    I haven’t seen Serra’s MRI, but my guess is that a combination of strong core muscles and epidurals might be able to get him to April. But one false step and he’s going to be right back at square one. If the damage is really severe, my perspective has always been that surgery is inevitable.

  • mike wolfe says:

    Well, Serra isn’t my favorite fighter, but I wouldn’t wish low back problems on anybody, and I don’t wish them on him. I’m not familiar with the procedure you had, but I know a little about the traditional fusion procedure and a little about the use of prosthetic discs, which have had some success. Another potential complicating factor for Serra is the extent of any degeneration in his spine at levels other than the herniations. If he has significant degeneration, further professional fighting becomes increasingly difficult and risky. And of course the training can be worse over time than the bouts themselves. I still wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he is unable to proceed.


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