Chris Weidman's corner will trade the wisdom of a former UFC champion for the wisdom of a father.
Health issues as well as the recent birth of his third child have persuaded Matt Serra to stay grounded in Long Island, causing him to miss the July 6 date between his longtime protege Weidman and long-reigning middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
According to trainer Ray Longo, Serra won't be able to make the trip out to Las Vegas for UFC 162. 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. Weidman has been a part of the Serra-Longo fight team from his first day in the sport, and in a way he is trying to emulate his coach by upsetting one of the sport's all-time greatest champions, as Serra did to Georges St-Pierre in 2007.
"I'll miss Matt, he kind of rounds me out as a coach," Longo told MMA Fighting. "It was a hard decision for him to have to make, but sometimes family has to come first."
Family ties also play a role in a positive part of the story, as Weidman selected his father Charlie to replace Serra in his corner, revealing it as a surprise in a Father's Day card.
In addition to Longo and Charlie Weidman, Chris Weidman will also have Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard John Danaher and UFC light-heavyweight Gian Villante in his corner for the big night.
Weidman has stormed through the early part of his career with a 9-0 overall record and five UFC wins. With less than two weeks left before the fight, the hard work is now winding down and Longo, who predicted Weidman to be a future UFC middleweight champion before he ever debuted in the UFC, is as confident as ever.
"Knock on wood, everything's great," he said. "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."