Matt Serra is a retired mixed martial artist who is best known for being the first fighter to win both The Ultimate Fighter Tournament and UFC Championship. He is also the first ever American to be awarded a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu by Renzo Gracie, a member of the legendary Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighting Gracie family. read on to find out more about Serra’s early beginnings, family, and achievements.
Early Life and Career
On the 2nd of June, 1974, in East Meadow, New York, Matthew John Serra was born to Italian-American parents. He was reportedly birthed three months premature which meant he faced huge developmental challenges while growing up. However, Matt Serra was able to battle his way to full healthiness before he began to pick an interest in mixed martial arts, having watched Bruce Lee and King Fu Theater. It further helped that his father was a lifelong martial artist.
From around the age of 11, Matt Serra and his father practiced the traditional Southern Chinese kung fu style called Wing Chun. In his teenage years, he began competing in wrestling before he later took up Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the age of 18 under Renzo Gracie. In the late 90s, Serra had begun to make a name for himself in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighting world. He won first place at the 1999 Brazilian jiu-jitsu Pan American games and then finished third in the brown belt division at the 1999 World Championships in Brazil before he began fighting professionally.
Matt Serra was able to amass a 4-0 mixed martial arts record before he made his UFC bow at UFC 31 against Shonie Carter in may 2001. He was knocked out by Cater in the fight but that did not dampen the New York native’s spirits as he bounced back to win his next two fights. Serra, who was now fighting in the lightweight division, came very close to earning himself a title shot but he was edged out in a tight decision fight by B.J. Penn.
By November 2006, Serra, who had moved back to the Welterweight division, defeated Chris Lytle by split decision to win the Ultimate Fighter 4 Welterweight Tournament. His victory earned him a title shot against Georges St-Pierre for the UFC Welterweight Championship. Serra was considered to be a huge underdog to his opponent but he, however, managed to upset the odds by achieving a technical knockout in the first round to win the UFC Welterweight Championship.
The match has since been considered to be one of the biggest upsets in MMA history and has earned Serra a number of accolades, including the Sports Illustrated 2000s Upset of the Decade and Cinderella Story of the Decade among many others.
In September 2010, Matt Serra lost to Chris Lytle via unanimous decision in what turned out to be his last fight as he moved into coaching.
Matt Serra’s Net Worth
Matt Serra’s net worth is estimated to be around $700,000. The one-time UFC Welterweight Championship winner, who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on the 5th of July 2018, is said to have made his money through endorsement deals and prize money from his various fights.
Since retiring, Serra has opened two Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools in New York where he trains fighters MMA fighters such as Chris Weidman, Aljamain Sterling, and Luke Cummo. He and his longtime cornerman and coach, Ray Longo run the facilities as the fighters fight under the Serra/Longo Competition Team.
Since the 26th of May, 2007, Matt Serra has been married to Ann Serra. Nothing is known about how the pair met each other or the subsequent details of their marriage as the couple has chosen to keep things about them very private, with even information regarding Ann’s early life and career is very hard to come across.
What is, however, known is that Matt and Ann have started a family. In line with the unavailability of information in regards to the Serra family, there are conflicting reports to the exact size as some publications say he and his wife have three children while others put it at two. What was agreed upon is that his first child was born on the 11th of February 2009, while his second was born in April 2011.
Height, Weight, and Other Facts
Birth Name: Matthew John Serra
Date of Birth: June 2, 1974
Place of Birth: East Meadow, New York
Height: 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m)
Weight: 170 lb (77 kg)
Reach: 69 inches (180 cm)
Profession: Mixed Martial Artist (retired)
Fighting Style: Wing Chun, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing