by: Alex Oppenheimer
When Matt Serra shocked the UFC world and knocked out George St. Pierre for the Welterweight title in 2007, it was considered amongst the biggest upsets in MMA history. One of the most important men behind the unforgettable upset was a man by the name of Ray Longo, Serra’s mentor and stand-up striking coach. Because of the upset, Longo, who owns his own MMA training academy in Garden City, New York, became one of the most well known trainers in the sport. However, Longo has been around long before this fight and long before he began training Serra.
Longo has been teaching MMA since the early 1970’s and is the head of a highly experienced staff in his Long Island gym, including Chris Weidman (Wrestling), Christina Rosa (Boxing, Kickboxing), Joe Diable (Kickboxing), Dave Patton (Grappling), and Keith Hewitt (Boxing). With their help, he has produced fighters like Serra, his brother Nick, Luke Cummo, and Pete “Drago” Sell. Longo helped Serra achieve his most recent win, a TKO over Frank Trigg at UFC 109 in Las Vegas on February 6, 2010.
I personally experienced Longo’s gym and felt the attitude, seriousness, and determination that the gym and its instructors strive to pass on. I sat down with Longo and talked about his family life, his relationship with Matt Serra and his other fighters, and the tough, grinding practice of Mixed Martial Arts.
Alex: How would the world describe Ray Longo as both a person and a professional?
Ray: They’d describe me as a nice guy who puts a lot into the people he is training and passes along a lot of good qualities.
Alex: When did you first get into training and when did you start running your own gym?
Ray: I first started training in the sport in 1973. With the MMA, I started when I met Matt [Serra], which was probably 14 or 15 years ago. I’ve had gyms for the last 20 years.
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