UFC at Fight Night 128 in Atlantic City announced that the former UFC welterweight champion and winner of season four of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ Matt Serra (11-7 MMA, 7-7 UFC) has been named to the UFC Hall of Fame class of 2018 as a pioneer.
“Matt Serra is one of the most underrated mixed martial artists in UFC history,” UFC President Dana White said. “From winning the Ultimate Fighter, to becoming UFC welterweight champion with one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, and now coaching some of the sports top athletes, Matt’s lifelong dedication to combat sports is legendary. Matt fought on the second UFC event under Zuffa ownership in 2001, and today, he helps us find new and exciting talent, while also co-hosting UFC Unfiltered. Serra is a true pioneer, and we look forward to celebrating his career at the UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in July.”
Serra in his own humorous way recalls of the story when Dana White told him the good news.
Serra said, “Dana face-timed me to tell me, and immediately when he told me, ‘You’re in the Hall of Fame,’ my four-year-old daughter Sophia was crawling underneath the chairs and I heard her hit her head. ‘Man, that’s amazing – get out from under the chair, is your head okay?'”
Serra became the first fighter to win The Ultimate fighter tournament and then become a UFC champion. He will enter the Hall of Fame as the 15th member of pioneer era wing. The pioneer Era category includes athletes who became professional before November 17, 2000 (before the unified rules of MMA were adopted), are a minimum of 35 years of age or have retired for one year or more.
“This is an honor to say the least,” said Serra. “I turned professional in 1999, during the dark ages when MMA was almost finished in the US. I didn’t become a mixed martial artist because there was a ton of money and fame to be had – there was none back then. I began competing in MMA because I love the sport, and that took me all the way to the UFC championship, and, now the UFC Hall of Fame. I love the sport as much as I ever did, and I couldn’t be happier or more honored right now.”
“This was kind of out of left field,” said Serra. “I didn’t expect it. But it’s quite the honor, to say the least. A lot of people, when they close the chapter of fighting in their life, they’re not happy with the next chapter or they’re uncertain what that next chapter will be, or they find themselves doing something that they don’t like even remotely as close to how much they liked fighting. Me, I’m extremely lucky in my next chapter. I have my schools, and I was always as much a teacher as I was a fighter, and I love that. I’m also very lucky to be doing some entertainment with the UFC podcast, I like going on the road with Dana, and I’m able to provide for my beautiful family by doing that. So I couldn’t be happier. I don’t think there’s anything missing, and now I’m in the Hall of Fame. It’s been a great ride.”
The remaining inductees of the UFC Hall of Fame class of 2018 will be announced in the coming weeks leading up to the 7th Annual International Fight Week. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on July 5, at Pearl Theatre, inside the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.