Vicente Luque likes to live by the philosophy that if he always stays ready, he never has to get ready.
Coming off what he called the biggest win of his career with a submission against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, the Brazilian contender is now waiting for his next best opportunity after finally making a big jump up in the rankings.
The UFC has him at No. 6 in the division. There aren’t that many options left for potential opponents still ranked ahead of him, but he has never been one to shy away from a challenge.
In fact, just after he beat Woodley in late March, Luque had called for a fight against Nate Diaz. But it was only a few days later that the former lightweight contender was instead booked for a showdown with Leon Edwards.
“The first thing that I thought was many people thought that my call out was, ‘You waste a call out,’ cause Diaz is never going to fight again,” Luque said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Now I’m like he is going to fight again, so it wasn’t that bad of a call out. He just didn’t take the fight.
“He took the fight with the other guy and I understand Diaz. I’m No. 6, and Leon’s No. 3, so he’s obviously going to go with the higher-ranked opponent.”
Ideally, Luque would plot his return later this year because with a baby on the way, he’s going to have his hands full at home. That would also give time for several matchups near the top of the welterweight division to take place, including the upcoming title fight at UFC 261 between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal.
“Right now, I’ve got to rest a little bit,” Luque revealed. “I want to work on myself on developing my game, and I have a kid on the way. I’ve got to take some time to look to train, to take care of my baby that is on the way. I have no problem waiting a little bit. It’s interesting.
“These fights are going to happen now, so we’ve got the title fight going on. We’ve got this fight between Leon and Nate. I think it’s going to be interesting because I’m looking to come back maybe in August. I think that would be a good timeframe and all these fights are going to happen. Maybe out of these fights, I can get my next opponent.”
While he’s willing to wait, Luque is also never one to stay far away from his gym. If the UFC comes calling, he’s always going to answer. Given the current state of the world during the pandemic, not to mention injuries and other obstacles that can prevent a fight from happening, he will definitely keep a close eye on Edwards vs. Diaz just in case in the UFC needs a potential replacement.
“I’m a guy that is always ready, I’m always active, I’m always keeping myself trained and healthy,” Luque said. “That’s something that I like to make sure I don’t have any injuries and that I stay not too far from the weight so that in two weeks, I know that two weeks is time enough for me to make 170.
“So yeah, I’m going to keep myself ready as I always do and maybe a big opportunity shows up. Maybe Nate Diaz or Leon Edwards, one of the two can fight me in May and I’ll try to be ready for that for sure.”
If he doesn’t get Diaz or Edwards in May, Luque is content letting the division play out for a little while as he awaits word on his next fight.
“My options are open and I’m going to keep myself ready as I always have,” Luque said. “I’m not a guy, especially with this fight I was fortunate to come out uninjured, so next week I’m back to training. I’ve got a lot of options and I always stay open to them. I’m never going to say ‘I’ll only fight this guy.’ No, I’m ready to fight anyone. I’m ready to fight all the guys in the division.
“I’m definitely looking forward. It’s natural. The more you climb, the more you want to fight tougher guys and guys that are ahead of you so that’s what I’m thinking right now. I’m looking ahead. I’ll be open to options and let’s see how it plays out.”