UFC middleweight number one contender Chris Weidman has been labeled as a prodigy of sorts for his evolving mastery of submission skills, ad much of that was learned under his coach Matt Serra. Serra, the former UFC welterweight champion best known for shocking the world by knocking out Georges St-Pierre, will unfortunately not be able to corner Weidman at the biggest fight of his life on July 6th.
According to MMA Fighting, Serra has suffered some health setbacks that are disallowing him to make the trip to Las Vegas:
In April, it was discovered that Serra had thoracic outlet syndrome, which caused his rib and collarbone to compress a vein, restrict blood flow and cause clots. He required surgery to remove his first rib, the one closest to his collarbone. Unfortunately since then, he had another setback.
While the onetime welterweight champion is currently on the mend with a better outlook, the health scare combined with the June 8 birth of his third daughter Sofia forced his decision.
The other half of Weidman’s Sera-Longo team, Ray Longo, had the following to say concerning Serra’s unfortunate absence:
"I'll miss Matt, he kind of rounds me out as a coach. It was a hard decision for him to have to make, but sometimes family has to come first."
Indeed family does have to come first at times, and with the announcement of Serra’s withdrawal, Weidman has chosen his father Charlie to replace Serra in his corner. Weidman is in top shape and ready for anything according to Longo, who believes the bet will change hands at UFC 162:
"Knock on wood, everything's great. The guy is healthy. He's looking good. We've brought in great sparring partners and he's ready to go. I think the cards are aligning in the right spots."
Only time will tell if the cards have truly aligned in all the right spots for Chris Weidman. It truly a sink-or-swim type situation, where a win makes Weidman the man to finally dethrone the champion while a loss makes him just another contender who fell to “The Spider.” Will Coach Serra’s absence have an effect on Weidman’s performance at UFC 162?