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Trainer: St. Pierre injury the difference for Serra at UFC 69

ufc 69 ray longo talks about matt serra victory over geroges st pierre
On January 2, it was announced that then UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre injured his knee during training and had to postpone his upcoming UFC 67 bout with The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 4 170-pound winner Matt Serra.

It was later rescheduled for UFC 69 on April 7 — two months later.

According to a recent interview with Ray Longo — Serra's trainer — in the Houston Chronicle, that extra time was the reason Serra pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in UFC history, stopping St. Pierre in round one with a barrage of unanswered punches.

Here's the snip from Longo:

"I believe he won this fight two weeks. He looked that good in sparring. When the fight was first announced, I didn't like it. But when St-Pierre hurt his knee, and we had that extra time, I saw Matt round the bend in sparring, and I knew he could beat the guy. We knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. The main difference to me was that we put him through so many rounds of sparring with professional boxers. For once, we weren't working around his jiu-jitsu, and he started to believe in his hands."

For a world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Serra certainly appeared comfortable in the early going of the fight going toe-to-toe with the uber-talented Canadian.

Whether that was just a one-time deal or Serra is evolving into a formidable striker remains to be seen — the fight was less than two minutes long.

It's not exactly the most telling sample from which to draw an absolute conclusion.

But if he can complement his fine ground game with a solid stand-up attack, the Serra reign atop the UFC welterweight division might just last longer than St. Pierre's.

He's already proved anything is possible.

(Note: For a little more on Serra's preparation check out another article on amNewYork.com.