Long Island Legends Phil Baroni and Matt Serra Need to Fight in the UFC

Matt_20serra_20ufc_20belt_mediumMMA Weekly talks to former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra about the kinds of fights he's looking for:

"I had a talk with Joe Silva (UFC matchmaker) and we talked about some interesting things," Serra told MMAWeekly.com recently. "I was definitely first pushing for a rematch. That would be ideal for me. I'd love to fight Matt Hughes again. I told him, 'look man, you've already got the name for it, "Unfinished Business." There you go.'
...

"I've made my whole career fighting whoever they put in front of me, and that hasn't really changed, but it has to be kind of exciting now. You know what I mean? I've got to see my name up there with someone else where I'm like, ‘Whew. I'd want to see that as a fight fan myself. I like that match up, and I like that name. He's a legend.' I want that type of thing around it. That's what I want," continued the New York resident.

"A new guy is just as tough as some of these other guys, so it's like why not at this stage of my career fight guys that, your name is up there, like when they had me versus Hughes. That was exciting. That's what I'm looking for. I know Frank Trigg is back in the mix. That would be interesting."

Unfortunately, Frank Trigg already has a dance partner for his UFC 103 return -- Josh Koscheck. Fortunately for Serra and the fans there is someone almost as well known as Frank Trigg that would be the perfect opponent for Serra: the New York Bad Ass Phil Baroni.

Ariel Helwani interviews New York Badass Phil Baroni:

Phil-baroni_mediumWere you surprised the UFC had interest in you despite the fact that you lost your last fight?
No. I'm Phil Baroni, and I'm a real fighter. Dana [White] wants real fighters in the UFC.

How long did it take for this deal to get done?
Fast. I agreed to the terms and money without hesitation. [Baroni's agent] Ken Pavia e-mailed me the deal; I signed it, and had my wife fax it while I went for a quick six-mile run.

...

Is there one fighter in particular that you would like to fight first?
I'll fight anybody. I've always been that way. I'm not changing that now.

I've been wanting to see these two go at it for years now. Both are from Long Island and made their UFC debuts in 2001 amidt as much hype as the promotion could generate at the time. Both faced the top competition in their respective divisions and came up short (except for Serra's win over GSP).

But I never thought it would happen given their different weight-classes (middle for Baroni, light for Serra) and divergent career trajectories. Just as Serra was winning the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Baroni was a post-PRIDE gypsy dropping his record to .500 and testing positive for steroids.

But through various miracles, they're both welterweights now and both are in the UFC. Its time for the two biggest mouths in MMA to get it on.

Down the road I'd love to see either face Frank Trigg and I'm more interested in a Phil Baroni vs Matt Hughes bout than a rematch of Hughes and Serra. The UFC welterweight division has quite a senior circuit. As much as I don't see any of these guys contending for a title anytime soon, I love to watch them all fight and I hope that Joe Silva makes wise use of them all.

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