17 years ago we saw the biggest upset in UFC championship history when Matt Serra beat Georges St-Pierre

Matt Serra shocked the world when he won the UFC welterweight championship from Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69: Shootout.
UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida Weigh-In
UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida Weigh-In / Jon P. Kopaloff/GettyImages

One of the great thrills of sports is seeing David topple Goliath. There is something special in witnessing the underdog, against all odds, take down the favorite and become a world champion. No fight in the UFC better embodies this than Matt Serra winning the UFC welterweight championship from Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69: Shootout on April 7, 2007.

Serra was 8-4 and fresh off of a loss to Karo Parisyan when he was invited to take part in the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter. This season was different from the previous three as the welterweight and middleweight participants had all previously fought in the UFC and would not only be competing for cash but for a title shot as well.

After a late change in opponent, Serra took on Pete Spratt, who had lost his opening round fight just two weeks prior to Chris Lytle. Serra would make quick work of Spratt, getting him to tap to strikes less than three and half minutes in to the first round.

Next up was Shonie Carter, a man who had previously put Serra on countless highlight reels by knocking him out with a spinning backfist. This time, Serra would get his revenge with a hard fought unanimous decision. Serra was on to the finals, facing off against the previously mentioned Lytle with a UFC welterweight title shot on the line.

On The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale, Serra used his superior grappling and clinch control to earn a grueling split decision victory over Lytle. He had earned his chance to fight the winner of the rematch between St-Pierre and welterweight king Matt Hughes.

St-Pierre would win the rematch with a crushing head kick and follow up punches, avenging the only loss of his career in the process. The matchup was set, Serra would be taking on the newly crowned St-Pierre with UFC gold on the line. The 32 year old Serra was 9-4, having had to win a reality show to earn his spot, while the 25 year old St-Pierre had just dethroned the greatest welterweight of all time and made it look easy.

Serra would enter the fight as a massive betting underdog at +850. Initially scheduled to be the co-main event to fellow The Ultimate Fighter winner, Travis Lutter's title shot against Anderson Silva on UFC 67: All or Nothing, the fight was moved to the main event of UFC 69: Shootout after St-Pierre sustained a knee injury in camp.

Brimming with confidence, Serra told anybody and everybody that he was going to shock the world and shock the world he did. The fact that Serra was able to defeat St-Pierre was shocking enough, but to do it by knock out was unbelievable.

No one thought Matt Serra had a chance versus the great Georges St-Pierre

Many people thought that if Serra had a shot to defeat St-Pierre, it would be on the ground. Serra was a world champion Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner and St-Pierre's first martial art was karate. However, St-Pierre was being hailed as the new breed of fighter, a true mixed martial artist, world class where ever the fight takes place. No one, including St-Pierre, saw the right hook coming.

St-Pierre appeared to slip when Serra's punch swung behind his head, but as St-Pierre retreated his legs stiffened and he misstepped, the commentary team was in disbelief. Serra showed outstanding patience as he stalked his wounded foe across the Octagon, waiting for the perfect moment to put St-Pierre away. After another right handed connected, Serra blitzed St-Pierre, knocking him down before delivering hellacious ground and pound until referee John McCarthy had seen enough.

Serra had done it, seizing his opportunity, he had become the UFC welterweight champion of the world. Though St-Pierre would regain his belt one year later, Serra lives on in history as the biggest underdog to ever win a UFC championship.


Next. Conor McGregor tested more than any other fighter in 2024 so far. Conor McGregor tested more than any other fighter in 2024 so far. dark