Vicente Luque doesn’t get jealous or angry at Khamzat Chimaev’s rapid rise to the top: “I have my path”


With a 10-1 record in his past 11 appearances, four Fight of the Night awards during that run along with two more Performance of the Night bonuses, Vicente Luque is not only one of the top welterweights in the UFC but he’s also considered one of the most exciting fighters on the entire roster.

Despite all those accolades, Luque still finds himself on the outside looking in when it comes to title contention in the division even as he prepares to take on another top ranked opponent in Belal Muhammad in the UFC Vegas 51 main event on Saturday.

In theory, Luque’s fifth straight win should make him eligible to compete for Kamaru Usman, but there is still a chance that he could get a chance at the title. This, especially considering the rapid rise of KhamzatChimaev up the ranks.

While Chimaev certainly claimed his spot with a recent win in a back-and-forth war against one-time title challenger Gilbert Burns, he still didn’t pay his dues by climbing each rung of the ladder because in his case, hype and popularity trumped experience in the eyes of the UFC. As unfair as that might seem to a veteran like Luque, who has been grinding away for the past five years just to earn his first UFC main event, don’t expect him to complain about it.

” I don’t like comparing myself with other people,” Luque said to MMA Fighting. “I have my own path. I understood from the day I decided to be who I am, I knew that would maybe be a longer path because I’m just not a trash talker. It’s impossible for me to be. I can’t.

“I can fight, and can put on great shows. That would require me to fight more, and that I have a longer career [to the title], but I was prepared for it. Khamzat is a great promoter and I admire the manner he builds it. He has made the right decision and it is his profession. He knows what’s best for him. He wants to build it that way, I have no problem with that.”

There are moments when Luque starts to allow frustration to creep into his mind, especially after he was actually offered and accepted a fight against Chimaev earlier this year only for the UFC to shift gears and book him against Burns instead.

It would be easy for the 30-year-old welterweight to sit and complain about situations that are out of his control but that’s also why he never chooses to handle himself that way.

” Sometimes, I think of frustration. Luque stated, “I don’t know what I can do.” It doesn’t stay in my head too much. This is something that I know I can do. I will follow my own path. If that happens, I might not be motivated to do my best. That’s something I can’t allow.

“I’ve got to be motivated. Because I believe I will win the title fight, and that I will be UFC champion .”

, I have to keep fighting anyone I can.

It was a rematch with Muhammad, a fight Luque won in just 79 second in 2016. Luque didn’t even consider turning down the fight in order to allow someone else to offer him the fight.

Instead, Luque actually got excited about the chance to face a new and improved version of Muhammad, who has put together an impressive run of his own since they last met at UFC 205.

” I see it as a fresh fight,” Luque said. “The last fight was maybe over a minute and I took it on short notice with two weeks to go. He was in training to fight another fighter. I don’t really take that first fight as an example.

“He is a completely different fighter at the moment. I’m definitely a different fighter right now. It’s a new fight and it’s a fight that excites me. Cause I know whenever a guy lost, he’s going to go in there and give it his all to beat the guy who beat him.”

If all goes well in UFC Vegas 51, Luque could be calling for a fight, but you shouldn’t expect him throwing a fit if that doesn’t happen.

An opportunity to become UFC champion is ultimately what he wants but more than anything, Luque just loves fighting and if he has to take out every welterweight in his way to finally get a chance to compete for gold, then that’s exactly what he’s going to do.

” In my mind, I must beat Belal. I have to beat him in the same way that I beat other people. That’s what will propel me up. I don’t know if it’s going to get me to that title or I’m going to have one more fight but I’ll be really close and then we’ll see.

” If Kamaru or Khamzat fights Khamzat, or fights whoever it is. It’ll be as it was. I’m going to get there sooner or later.”