Vicente Luque has a new target in the UFC.
The Brazilian welterweight was on a roll in 2016, riding a four-fight winning streak in the UFC with two knockouts and two submissions, but Leon Edwards put an end to his rise earlier this year. Now, he wants to return to the win column facing former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine.
"There’s nothing set yet, date or opponent, but I’m talking to the UFC and going to my social media to ask for a fight with Tarec,” Luque told MMA Fighting. "I think that’s a good fight for me, a good match-up for both of us and for the fans who love a stand-up battle. It’s a good fight for the UFC and for me.”
Saffiedine holds victories over Jake Ellenberger and Hyun Gyu Lim in the UFC, but those are his only wins in six appearances inside the Octagon. With his back against the wall following a decision defeat to Rafael dos Anjos in June, Saffiedine is the type of match-up Luque wants next.
"The fact that he’s a striker is great because that’s how I like to fight,” he said. "I also have my ground game, but the fact that he enters fights looking to stand and trade favors my game a lot.
"I believe in my hands. If my hand connects, he will feel it and go down or go out. I always try to finish my fights. I don’t know how to fight any other way.”
Luque competed four times in eight months between July 2016 and March 2017, and regrets not taking a time off to take care of his body.
"If I can fight around September or October maybe I can fight one more time before the end of the year, but I’ll respect my body this time,” Luque said. "It was a mistake to fight that often, and I made that mistake because I was too excited, coming off four wins in a row, and I wanted to stay active. I’ve learned a lot with the loss, and I’ll always respect my body."