Matt Serra Reacts to Hall of Fame Honor, and David Branch Finishing Thiago Santos

Matt Serra talks about the honor of being added to the UFC Hall of Fame — but can’t help but get excited for the fight unfolding next to him.

Atlantic City, NJ — Saturday night in Atlantic City, UFC Fight Night 128 had a little surprise announcement to go with it. Former welterweight champion Matt Serra was announced as joining the UFC Hall of Fame, class of 2018. It was big news for a fighter especially popular on the East Coast — and Serra was on hand to talk to the media about the honor. Of course, as the cameras got rolling, the fighter turned coach couldn’t help but keep his eye on the action on the screen immediately next to him. On which David Branch was in the process of finishing Thiago Silva.

“Oh sh**! I called Branch to win by knockout!” he exclaimed just as Saturday night’s impromptu press scrum began. “That’s what the f*** I did! I called that sh**! On UFC Unfiltered. That’s good, I called that.”

“Nostradamus,” he jokingly referred to himself as. It was a good call, mind you. Branch was at UFC Atlantic City off a loss to Luke Rockhold. Santos had won four straight.

Distractions aside, Serra was beaming Saturday, and rightfully so. He’ll join the Hall of Fame in the Pioneer Wing during International Fight Week this July.

“That’s wild” he said of the honor. Serra recounted getting the call from UFC President Dana White, who told Serra he was being admitted to the Hall just as his young daughter knocked her head while playing. It was a little anti-climactic at  the time, but he would later admit that “it doesn’t suck. It’s exciting.”

When it comes to how he’ll be remembered, his bouts against Georges St. Pierre will of course stand out. And “I’m totally fine with that,” Serra said. “That was my Rocky movie, I’m a big fan of Rocky and I felt like I lived that movie. Except Rocky II ended up better than my second fight with GSP.”

Serra, who finished his career 11-7, said that “it’s not always the wins that you want to even be remembered for. Right at this place, at the Boardwalk Hall,” he recounted, “I lost to Karo Parisyan.”

“It was here, you know, in that fight I learned a lot about myself” Serra added. “Because it was a fight that I got winded, a fight I almost won, a fight during it, I wanted to get out of there but I never did get out of there, I never let myself quit. Stuff like that I’m proud of.”

Cageside got a chance to ask Serra whether Dana White and co were able to keep the reveal a secret, and according to Serra, the news was a complete surprise. “It came out of the blue,” he told us. “Dana face-timing, you know he does that from time to time, just to bulls*** about anything. It’s not weird, we’re not face-timing every night,” he added with a laugh.

“So I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary,” Serra continued. “So when he said that, it was definitely out of left field. But it was a good surprise. My family, wife and kids are proud. My family’s proud, my students, phone’s blowing up. It’s a really good moment. And I’m really really happy for Aljo [Aljamain Sterling, who defeated Brett Johns] tonight.”

A theme from Serra on the night was passing the torch, and putting the focus on the young stars he’s training over in Serra-Longo. Yet this July, the spotlight will be on Matt Serra one more time, as he’s remembered as a pioneer of the sport, scoring wins over Chris Lytle and Frank Trigg, winning The Ultimate Fighter 4, and, of course, knocking out Georges St. Pierre in one of the most shocking upsets of all time.

Watch the full, highly entertaining scrum with Matt Serra from UFC Atlantic City above!