Fredy Serrano is not done with MMA.
The former UFC fighter, who participated in the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, is getting ready to return to professional fighting. Serrano will be fighting in the main event of Empire MMA 1 against Brazil’s Joseph Vieira. The fight will be contested at flyweight and it will take place on May 19 at the Auditorio Mayor de Bogota in Bogota, Colombia.
“I’ve been inactive for more than a year following my exit from the UFC,” Serrano told MMA Fighting. “I’ve been recovering from a few injuries. I’ve been very injured with my knees and shoulders, but at this moment I feel good, and many people here in Colombia have been asking me to fight. People want to see me fight again here, and I think this is a good start to restart my career, so I decided to fight again and take advantage of this event that we’re organizing.”
The last time Serrano was seen in action was at UFC on FOX 22 back in December of 2016. The former Olympic wrestler, who represented Colombia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, lost via unanimous decision to Hector Sandoval, thus prompting his release from the promotion.
Despite being cut from the UFC, Serrano feels proud of his stint in the American MMA promotion, as he became the first Colombian to get a win in the Octagon and he also achieved few other milestones in the process.
“Yeah, I think that I set the bar high,” Serrano said. “I think that the participation of a Colombian that was raised here, and that developed his career here in Colombia, was a good representation. And like I always said, I think there are more Colombians coming and the idea is that they surpass that bar that was set.”
Serrano went 2-2 in the UFC before being cut. The 38-year-old fighter admits he was a bit surprised by his release.
“I think we made a good representation and a good career: Four fights, two years in the promotion, won two bonuses, a record in the flyweight division was broken – which was fastest finish in the division – so we did think we would get another chance. But despite that, when we got the news, it was accepted the best way possible, but it did cause some me to lose some motivation, so from that point, I decided to take some time off to take care of my things.”
Being in his late 30’s and out of the UFC, retirement did cross Serrano’s mind, but not enough to get him to hang up the gloves.
“To be honest with you, yes,” Serrano explained. “I did think about it. The truth is that the years of training eventually take a toll on you and that had me a little unmotivated and with the exit from the UFC. I had expectations of getting another chance, so all that did made me lose motivation along with a few personal situations. All that had me taking a little more than a year off, recovering. But after talking to my close friends and family, we all thought that it would be worth it to give it another try.”
Serrano’s return to MMA is not going to be a one-time thing. “El Profe” wants to fight for a couple of years more, and hopes to fight again for an international MMA promotion.
“Yeah, it’s a return and I do want to be around a little longer to not only try to accomplish sporting achievements, but I also want to find a promotion that believes in my name, that would allow me to show who Fredy Serrano is, that would allow me to show what I have around me. I’ve always talked about this, my wrestling team, the neighborhood and the things that we’re doing here. So yeah, I want to keep investing in fighting.”
Serrano hopes this second stage of his MMA career can shine a light on the work he does in his community. He has a team, Club Equipo Serrano, that focuses on helping kids and providing them free classes of wrestling and recently added MMA. Serrano’s team was officially established in 2010, but he’s been working with the youth since 1998.
Club Equipo Serrano is located in Republica del Canal, which is located in the southeast part of Bogota. The team is affiliated with the wrestling league of the department of Cundinamarca where the kids can wrestle to qualify for national tournaments. Club Equipo Serrano currently has five youth national champions.
Serrano believes there is a lot ridding on the line in his comeback to MMA. He believes his May 19 fight in Bogota will determine where he goes next, as it could open door to other MMA promotions.
“Yeah, I think there are a lot of expectations,” Serrano said. “And fighting again in Colombia it’s a big motivation, but it’s also a big responsibility. Regardless, I need to sharpen my tools again and work on the mental aspect, and that’s part of getting back in the cage, so that’s exactly what I’m facing.”