Las Vegas, NV — Welterweight standout Vicente Luque has an even bigger opportunity than he first envisioned this weekend at UFC 260.
With the loss of the Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega fight, Luque’s showdown with former 170lb champ Tyron Woodley now serves as the co-main event of the pay-per-view card. “It’s not the way I wanted it, but I’m grateful anyway to get this opportunity,” Luque admitted during the UFC 260 media day this week. “It makes it more fun. A lot of people are going to be watching. More eyes on me.”
Woodley, unquestionably, has his detractors, those who believe he’s on the downside of his career. Perhaps even close to his exit from the sport. That hasn’t taken the shine off the match-up for Brazil’s Luque, however.
“It definitely excited me. Fighting a former champion, it’s always exciting,” said Luque, noting that Woodley is the “highest level opponent” he has faced to this day. “It’s three losses [for Woodley], but he lost to the three best in the world. That’s not like a big thing. Not in my book at least. I still think he’s dangerous.”
Luque imagines he’ll be facing the Woodley “who used to go out and knock everybody out.” Even while recognizing that, in the end, “not everybody’s going to be the champion forever.”
“You’re either going to lose that title, or you’re going to retire. Those are the two options,” Luque observed. “When you leave that status, when you’re not the champion anymore, people like to talk about it. They like to say you’re not the same guy. They don’t realize the rest of the division is improving, is getting better, is studying that guy — and maybe they found something out, found a way to beat him, but it’s not because he’s not the same anymore. It’s just because people learn and get better.”
If there’s one thing that Woodley’s opponents have found successful, it’s pressuring the former champ. And that’s something Luque believes he can build on. “I pressure my opponents every single fight. I walk forward, I try to be in their face, try to hurt them every single moment they’re in there.”
Vicente Luque faces Tyron Woodley at UFC 260 on Saturday, March 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can view his full media day scrum above.