Vicente Luque is happy to have Mike Perry sell their fight at UFC Uruguay. In fact, he thinks Perry is misunderstood.
Luque told Bloody Elbow what it is like standing across Perry in the lead-up to their co-main event fight. “It’s been better than I expected. I was ready for him to talk all the things he talks,” Luque shared. “At the same time, I’ve always seen him fighting and the way he acts. I don’t think he’s such a disrespectful guy. I think he’s an awkward guy. He’s different. He likes to make some jokes and do some crazy stuff. I actually think it’s pretty cool because it sells the fight. People like to watch him, people like to watch me.”
“He likes to provoke and get into your face. I’m good for that. I have no problem with that... It’s really hard for me to take things personally. I love fighting. I do this because I have fun in there,” he continued. “If he wants to get in my face it’s definitely going to spice up the fight and make it more exciting for me to do put in my best.”
Luque (16-6-1) is one of the hottest prospects in the welterweight division, having won nine of his last 10 fights. His early career tells a different story, however, with a 7-4-1 record before making his UFC debut (with a loss to Michael Graves). The turning point, he says, was his stint on The Ultimate Fighter. “Up until that point, I was still working on a lot of mental aspects and working through adversity... Within two fights, I had my first loss,” Luque explained. “Everything I thought I was going to be, knowing I wouldn’t be, that was hard to work through. I learned each person has their own path. I learned to start accepting my path. Evolving and getting better to reach my final goal. The losses were extremely important.”
Leon Edwards beat Luque via unanimous decision in 2017. Edwards is not getting a whole lot of shine after his impressive win over Rafael dos Anjos, but Luque sees championship potential in the British fighter. “I fought him and I started well, but he is a guy with great cardio and he knows how to work out of adversity. He had a bad first round but came in the second and third and beat me. I do think people underestimate him,” Luque said. “Sooner or later he will fight Masvidal.”
Luque was born in New Jersey but moved to Brazil with his mother, a karate black belt, at 6-years-old. It was that move that facilitated what would eventually become a successful MMA career. “I went into many different sports and never really found what I wanted. I was 15 when I found Muay Thai. I started watching ‘Shogun’ [Rua], Wanderlai Silva, Vitor Belfort and I decided I wanted to be a fighter,” he reflected. “Had I not come to Brazil, I don’t think — maybe I would’ve still been an MMA fighter — but I don’t think I would’ve had contact with Muay Thai and all the Brazilian culture that brought me to MMA.
UFC Uruguay takes place on Saturday, Aug. 10. The event is headlined by a women’s flyweight title fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Liz Carmouche.
See time stamps below for the video above.
0:25 - Expectations about Mike Perry’s trash talk
1:29 - Expectations for the UFC Uruguay staredown
2:22 - Importance of a slowburn up the UFC rankings
4:00 - The tipping point from failure to success
6:22 - Breaking down the complicated welterweight division
8:20 - Examining past opponent Leon Edwards
9:45 - Biggest advantage over Mike Perry
10:24 - How moving to Brazil fostered Vicente Luque’s MMA career
11:50 - Life as the son of a martial artist
13:38 - Predicting a knockout of Mike Perry