Matt Serra is a retired mixed martial artist best known for being the first fighter to win both the Ultimate Fighter Tournament and the UFC Championship. He is also the first American ever to be awarded a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by Renzo Gracie, a member of the legendary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter family Gracie. Read on to learn more about Serra’s early beginnings, his family, and his achievements.
Early Life and Career
Matthew John Serra was born on June 2, 1974, in East Meadow, New York, to Italian-American parents. He was reportedly born three months early, which meant that he faced major developmental challenges as he grew up. However, Matt Serra was able to fight his way to full health before he began to be interested in mixed martial arts after seeing Bruce Lee and the King Fu Theater. It also helped him that his father was a lifelong martial artist.
From about the age of 11, Matt Serra and his father practiced the traditional South Chinese kung fu style called Wing Chun. In his teenage years, he began to compete in wrestling before he later began practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie at the age of 18. By the late 1990s, Serra had begun to make a name for himself in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu martial 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 starting to fight professionally.
Matt Serra was able to set a 4-0 record in mixed martial arts before he made his UFC bow at UFC 31 against Shonie Carter in May 2001. He was knocked out by Cater in that fight, but that didn’t dampen the New Yorker’s spirits when he recovered and won his next two fights. Serra, who was now fighting in the lightweight class, came very close to winning the title, but in a close deciding fight he was ousted by B.J. Penn.
In November 2006, Serra, who was again fighting in the welterweight class, defeated Chris Lytle in a split decision and won the Ultimate Fighter 4 welterweight tournament. This victory earned him a title fight against Georges St-Pierre at the UFC Welterweight World Championship. Serra was considered a major underdog in the face of his opponent, but he managed to increase his chances by scoring a technical knockout in the first round to win the UFC Welterweight World Championship.
The game has since been considered one of the biggest upsets in MMA history and has earned Serra a number of awards, including the Sports Illustrated 2000s Upset of the Decade and Cinderella Story of the Decade and many others.
In September 2010, Matt Serra lost to Chris Lytle by unanimous decision in his final fight, which turned out to be his last fight on his way to becoming a coach.
Matt Serra’s Net Worth
Matt Serra’s net assets are estimated at approximately $700,000. The former UFC welterweight championship winner, who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on July 5, 2018, is said to have earned his money through sponsorship contracts and prize money from his various fights.
Since his retirement, Serra has opened two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools in New York, where he trains MMA fighters such as Chris Weidman, Aljamain Sterling, and Luke Cummo. He and his long-time cornerman and coach Ray Longo run the facilities while the fighters fight under the Serra/Longo Competition Team.
Matt Serra has been married to Ann Serra since May 26, 2007. Nothing is known about how the couple met or the later details of their marriage, as the couple decided to keep things about them very private, and even information about Ann’s early life and career is very hard to find.
What is known, however, is that Matt and Ann have started a family. Since information about the Serra family is not available, there are conflicting reports about the exact size of the family, as some publications state that he and his wife have three children, while others put it at two. It was agreed that his first child was born on February 11, 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