It was announced Friday morning on UFC.com that the highly anticipated bout between Matt Hughes and Matt Serra has been scratched. UFC Welterweight Champion, Serra was forced to withdraw due to injuring his back in a Monday training session. Serra was completing a basic training session, but herniated a disc in his lower back when he was working on a move.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” said a devastated Serra. “I’ve never had a back injury before; I could hardly get off the MRI table. There is no way I can train through this, and I’m devastated, especially because this was such an important fight. I was looking forward to fighting Matt Hughes. All my training was going phenomenally until Monday – All I can do now is to get better and to fight again as soon as possible.”
The UFC 79 fight card was starting to round into shape with the much anticipated, and three years overdue fight between Top Light Heavyweights Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva slated as the co-main event for the aforementioned 170-lb title bout. UFC President Dana White was clearly disappointed by the new, as the UFC attempts to rebound from a less than stellar fight card of UFC 78.
“This is devastating news because they were so looking forward to fighting each other,” said White. “Unfortunately, injuries happen and I look forward to Serra recovering quickly, and to getting him back into the Octagon.”
It will be interesting to see what happens from this standpoint for the Top Welterweight fighters for the UFC, with the primary question surrounding how long will it take Serra to rehab? How does this affect Top Contender, Georges St. Pierre who was already promised a shot at the winner of this title bout? I think that for GSP, it will all depend on how long Serra may be out for. It is unfortunate, but assuming a Serra/ Hughes fight happens in May, at the earliest a GSP/Hughes-Serra winner wouldn’t happen for at least another three months after that.
That would keep GSP out of commission for a year, with his last fight coming of an impressive win over Josh Koscheck this past August. I don’t think the UFC can afford to keep on of their most popular fighters out of the Octagon for that long. Will the UFC try to force their hand and “encourage” GSP to fight?