Matt Serra Explains Why He’s Retiring From Cornering Following Aljamain Sterling Title Win

Just a few days after one of his long-time students won a UFC title, Matt Serra has announced he is retiring from cornering fighters. At UFC 259, Aljamain Sterling won the UFC bantamweight title when he defeated Petr Yan by disqualification. Serra was not in Sterling’s corner for the fight. In a recent episode of UFC Unfiltered, Serra explained his decision to retire from cornering in the aftermath of UFC 259.

Here is Serra’s full explanation:

“I’m upset that I wasn’t in the corner…” Serra said. “The way it went down that I found out that I was out of the corner could’ve been done a little better, a little bit more respectful.”

First and foremost, it’s important to note that Serra has nothing but nice things to say about Sterling, his other coaches, or anybody else involved. However, Serra takes issue with the fact that he, along with striking coach Ray Longo, had coached and cornered Sterling for every one of his UFC bouts leading up to his title shot at UFC 259. Serra was surprised to learn that he was excluded from Sterling’s corner for the biggest fight of his life.

Taking Serra’s place in Sterling’s four-man corner was Xtreme Couture head coach Eric Nicksick. Sterling split his camp between Serra-Longo in New York and Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.

“I have nothing against Eric Nicksick…” said Serra. “You’re gonna have this guy who you’ve been working [with] for three or several months? And I’ve been working with you for seven years?”

Again, it’s worth noting that Serra appears to still be on good terms with Sterling, so this might not be a falling-out between Serra and his long-time student. However, making these statements in public could indicate that a split between Sterling and his original team is on the horizon.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

Ben Coate has 187 posts and counting. See all posts by Ben Coate