No. 9 ranked welterweight contender Vicente Luque recently sat down to speak with Mike Owens in a Middle Easy exclusive interview to discuss something of the bigger stories in the 170-pound division in recent months.
‘The Silent Assassin’ was last seen inside the Octagon this past August on the losing end of a UFC Fight Night showdown with Geoff Neal. Having lost back-to-back fights since making his promotional debut in 2015, Luque is looking to return in the summer of 2023 and has a few potential opponents in mind. One name mentioned during their conversation was Khamzat Chimaev.
The outspoken Chechen monster is still undefeated, having ragdolled Kevin Holland on his way to a first-round submission at UFC 279 in September. Luque shared his thoughts on Chimaev both inside and outside of the Octagon.
“As a fighter I’ve gotta say he’s a good fighter and he has shown us that he can hang with the best. He went there and fought with Gilbert (Burns). I know Gilbert is one of the best welterweights in the world so for you to survive three rounds and at the end pull off a win against a guy like Gilbert, you gotta be good. So definitely Khamzat is a good fighter. I don’t think he’s unbeatable. I don’t think he’s something from another world. He’s just a strong guy. He goes in there and tries to impose his will and when he imposes his will, he gets quick wins.
“When guys like Gilbert for example go out there and show him it’s not gonna be an easy night, he struggles up a little bit. I don’t think he has the experience yet to go through these long fights so comfortably. He does suffer a little bit. We saw that against Gilbert so, I don’t know. Maybe a guy like me would be definitely looking for that. The long fight. Taking to the later rounds especially because he looks really explosive in the beginning.”
Though Luque has a clear respect for Khamzat Chimaev inside the Octagon, ‘The Silent Assassin’ believes that he does a little too much talking outside of the cage which is likely contributed to fans turning on him so swiftly in recent months.
“I think now when you step out of the fighting, out of the Octagon, and see him outside, he talks too much and I think that sometimes he’s talking just to get attention and that can go well sometimes as it did in the beginning. But also, after a little bit, people start seeing that maybe he’s talking too much and not doing as much as he’s talking. Like when he was calling out Alex Pereira, I think it doesn’t make any sense. Alex is a beast. He just fought. Why should he take a fight in Rio in such short notice? He’s the champ.
“If you want to challenge the champ, do it in a way that makes sense. Not just call him out and say that he’s chickening out because he’s not fighting like two months [following] his title challenge. It’s kind of like, a little bit of nonsense to me. He wants to call attention, but it’s what they do. Each one sells their fighting differently.”
Vicente Luque is Down For a Scrap With Jorge Masvidal
For months, self-proclaimed BMF champion Jorge Masvidal had been linked to a bout with Gilbert Burns. While Burns claimed that Masvidal turned down the matchup for late 2022, ‘Gamebred’ snapped back saying he always intended to compete against Burns in March or April of 2023. Whatever the reason, it feels as though interest in the bout has somewhat dissolved. Asked why he believes the contest never materialized, Vicente Luque said:
“I know that Gilbert is always up to a fight and if he’s calling someone out, he’s ready to fight and he’s gonna fight no matter what, even if he gets injured or whatever, he’s gonna make sure that he recovers and gets to that fight so I gotta think something went wrong on the other side Masvidal. I don’t know if maybe he didn’t get the pay he wanted. Maybe it’s a tough opponent and he doesn’t want to risk fighting a guy, even though Gilbert is well-ranked, he’s a tough guy, so it’s always a fight some guys aren’t willing to take.”
Currently, Jorge Masvidal is sitting in the No. 11 spot on the UFC’s welterweight rankings. With Vicente Luque just inside the top 10 at No. 9, it would make sense for ‘Gamebred’ and ‘The Silent Assassin’ to square off inside the Octagon. Luque discussed that possibility during his conversation with Mike Owens.
“I would definitely be willing to fight him. I think I’m No. 9 and he’s either 10 or 11. I think it’s something like that and I don’t know, maybe stylistically for him I think it would be interesting. For me it’s very interesting as well. We’re both strikers. We’re both guys that want to go in there and just try to knock each other out. I think if you look at that sense, it’s a fair fight for both and even better for the fans. I think it’s a fight that does make a lot of sense. I would definitely be willing to fight against him.”