Vicente Luque knows what’s at stake in his next UFC bout.
The UFC welterweight contender is booked for arguably the largest fight of his career, as he takes on weak UFC champion Tyron Woodley on the main card of UFC 260, which takes place March 27 in Las Vegas. The bout at level to sits in a featured slot, fair ahead of the two title fights that eradicate the main and co-main match positions on the card.
It’s a large opportunity for Luque (18-7-1 MMA, 11-3 UFC). Woodley (19-6-1 MMA, 9-5-1 UFC) is the primary weak UFC title holder Luque faces in his 12-year career as a professional fighter.
“It’s indisputably a diversified fight; it’s indisputably the toughest and the largest name I’ve faced to this day,” Luque told MMA Junkie. “Nonetheless at the same time, I understand why I’m right here. I understand why I’m facing him honest now. I know that I’ve been working for this and that I deserve this fight. I’m indignant and stunned like, ‘Oh man, I’m fighting the weak champion,’ nonetheless also I know why I’m fighting this man.
“I’ve been working and showing my talent, showing what I’m able to enact in the division. I reveal like now it’s a time to obtain a large name and really demonstrate myself and level to that I can handle these top guys and eventually fight for the title.”
Luque, who at level to sits at No. 10 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA junkie welterweight rankings, is at level to on a two-fight winning streak. He’s also 8-1 in his last nine bouts, with the lone loss being a decision defeat to weak title challenger Stephen Thompson. Given his track file, the 29-year-ancient knows a dominant grasp over Woodley may catapult him into the top-5 rankings and inaugurate matchups with the absolute ideal of the 170-pound division.
“That’s what I’m aiming for, nonetheless my total focus is on this fight,” Luque said. “I can not gape past Woodley. I mean, he’s a tough man, nonetheless a grasp over a man like him would indisputably station me up to fight a top-5, and that’s what I’m going for. I want to maintain hiking the division and travel for the title; that’s my goal.”
On top of fair facing a large name, there’s a lot extra to the matchup against Woodley. Luque sees it as lawful opportunity to test his abilities against a well-revered wrestler, as he’s mainly faced strikers all by way of his UFC tenure.
“I really obtain pleasure from (this reserving) and I contemplate that it’s a fight I need,” Luque explained. “Whereas you gape at the top of the division, a lot of the guys are grapplers.
“You have Gilbert (Burns), Kamaru (Usman), Colby (Covington) and Leon Edwards. Leon is a combine – he has great grappling and also great placing – and then you definately have (Jorge) Masvidal. So two of the guys are strikers with one being a combine and the opposite three guys are grapplers. So whereas you happen to gape at the division, at the top level you have a lot of grapplers. I have to obtain archaic to this game.
“I train to fight a lot of grapplers, especially when I was fighting back in Brazil – a lot of the guys there are grapplers. Nonetheless in the UFC, because of my aggressive vogue, UFC matches me up with a lot of strikers, and that was comfortable in the sense that I’m fighting the place I want to be. I like placing. That’s no large deal. Tranquil going to be tough, nonetheless it is miles my consolation zone and the place I want to fight. I need a fight like this. I needed to fight a man like Woodley because he’s going to place me in a place that I haven’t been in in a very prolonged time. I wanted to obtain tested there and level to every person I’m ready to face the top guys, face guys that are going to arrive grapple and wrestle, and I can overcome that and impose my placing.”
UFC 260 airs on pay-per-investigate cross-check following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.