Vicente Luque may have to wait a little longer to get his hands on current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, but he’s confident that he can finish “Nigerian Nightmare” when the time comes.
Over the past few years Luque has become one of the best finishers in UFC. He may not receive the recognition he deserves, but that’s why they call him “The Silent Assassin.” Luque has finished four-straight fights, including back-to-back submissions over Michael Chiesa and Tyron Woodley, and 13 out of 14 total UFC wins. He has done it on the back of high-level striking and a very underrated ground game.
Coming off a recent victory over Chiesa at UFC 265 Luque is lining himself up to test his finishing ability against the top fighters at 170 pounds, which includes the current champ. While Usman used to get the better of Luque when they were training partners “Silent Assassin” believes he has the key ingredients to take the champ out when they lock horns inside of the Octagon.
“Kamaru has a very strong rhythm. In many fights, it imposes strength, resilience, it’s a strong point. I also push the rhythm up there, especially in my area, the striking. This can complicate it. Colby was one of the guys who came closest to putting him in danger because he put a lot of volume in the standup. I can do it too, but with knockout power, I hit pretty hard for the division, I know I could knock out anyone, including Kamaru,” Luque told Combate. “And I have the ground game. Kamaru has already faced and dominated guys on the ground, but I’ve been developing the wrestling defense and the anti-game on the ground, if I’m on the bottom or in transition. The D’Arce choke I’ve been doing a lot, but there are other weapons I’ve been working on. I’m complete like him, but I have a game to complicate things, because I fight him in any area, whether on the ground, standing, or on the fence. I’ve been working not to be controlled and undermine the opponent as well. This complete game that I’ve been developing can go up against Kamaru.”
Luque, who is 10-1 inside of the Octagon since late 2017, is arguably one fight away from a matchup with Usman. The champ is currently expected to defend his title in a rematch against Colby Covington at UFC 268 later this year, but after that Luque could wiggle his way in for a title shot. Streaking contender Leon Edwards is also in the mix, but it seems like UFC may side with the fighter who finishes fights.
That said, Luque would have his hands full in a matchup with Usman. “Nigerian Nightmare” is undefeated at 14-0 since making his UFC debut six years ago and has knocked off some of the best fighters in the world during that span, including Jorge Masvidal, Gilbert Burns, Covington, and Woodley. So while Luque has the knockout power and deceptive submission skills to give the champ a run for this money, Usman will certainly have his own gameplan in place to thwart Luque and smother him with pressure and takedowns.