Trigg, Serra Trade Barbs

By John Chandler Dec 26, 2009
With their proverbial backs against the wall, former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and two-time title challenger Frank Trigg have begun preparations for their featured bout at UFC 109 “Relentless” on Feb. 6 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

As one might expect, the seasoned trash talkers have started to exchange verbal jabs, too.

“Frank is a dangerous guy. He’s an exciting fighter,” Serra said. “I always thought that he would be an interesting guy to fight. On top of that, he just has one of those faces that you want to punch.”

Trigg was quick to counter.

“I became a fan of Matt when he fought Shonie Carter,” he said. “He was brutally stopped in that fight but bounced back and picked up some big wins. He’s a former champ, so you have to respect that. He also carries a lot of brass but certainly not too much class.”

Both fighters find themselves at a crossroads in their careers. For Serra, a fight against Trigg provides intrigue, exactly the kind of matchup in which the Long Island, N.Y., native would prefer to engage as his career winds down. It feeds his passion as the possibility of retirement grows closer.

Still, Serra preferred a rematch with his arch enemy, Matt Hughes, the future hall of famer who outpointed him at UFC 98 seven months ago.

“Of course, I wanted Hughes again,” Serra said. “He came away with the decision in May, and myself and a lot of others disagree on that point. It was such a close fight. But it is what it is. I’m not going to sit here and talk bad on him because the UFC doesn’t want a rematch right now. We did that; we fought. That doesn’t take anything away from this fight. When Joe Silva called me with the Trigg fight, I said, ‘Hell yeah.’ It’s a matchup that excites me a lot.”

Trigg will enter the bout on the heels a brutal, one-sided defeat to Josh Koscheck at UFC 103 in September. The loss still weighs heavily on his mind, and Trigg wants people to know that a timely mistake was not just the only factor that cost him a win in his return to the Octagon.

“Six weeks before the Koscheck fight, I blew my knee out,” he said. “We rehabbed it and tried to get everything back to where it was before the injury, but it didn’t work out like we planned. If you look during the fight, I look down towards the mat at one point. In between the mat and fence is a space. I ended up stepping in it and my right knee gave out. Then Josh put me down.”

Trigg recently ramped up the pre-fight rhetoric on his Facebook account, stating that Serra’s career was on “life support” and that he was coming into the match ready to “pull the plug.” Trigg, who still spends the majority of his training camp at Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts in Las Vegas, insists that Serra’s time is limited, both as a relevant fighter and as an employee of the UFC.

“He’s in the twilight of his career,” Trigg said. “Unfortunately, when he loses to me, he’s going to realize that his days as a fighter are going to be limited. He’ll be able to go ahead and continue fighting in smaller, lesser-known organizations if he wants. Hopefully, he does so at 155. He’s small to begin with, but he’s definitely too small for this weight class and too small for me in this fight, as well.”

Trigg, who has not won a fight inside the UFC in more than five years, knows how much will be at stake when he enters the cage on Super Bowl weekend.

“This is a do-or-die fight for me. If I lose this one, I’ll definitely be out of the UFC, but that’s not going to be the case,” Trigg said. “This fight will go where I want it to go. I know Matt is good on the ground, but if I want to put him there, I will. He’s going to have a lot of trouble trying to take me down. He might have more knockout power, but I have better punching power. Matt is a tough guy, but I’ll have no problem finishing him off. This one won’t be left in the judge’s hands.”

Serra claims to be comfortable with his legacy. When confronted with Trigg’s thoughts on their upcoming date, the 35-year-old had his own take.

“Look, when my career is over and done with, I’m the one who can look back and say that I was the champ,” Serra said. “He got there twice and choked both times -- literally. I refuse to lose to a guy that has a [expletive] tramp stamp. You’ve seen his back, right? C’mon. No way am I losing to a guy that walks around with that.”
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