Vicente Luque: UFC Rochester opponent change 'going to be a good thing'
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Vicente Luque found out five nights prior to UFC on ESPN+ 10 that the biggest fight of his career was off. Neil Magny was pulled from Saturday’s welterweight co-headliner after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency test failure, leaving the surging Luque worried he wouldn’t fight.
Luque (15-6-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) said he was “fired up” to get a shot at longtime contender Magny (21-7 MMA, 14-6 UFC), who has denied any wrongdoing in the wake of his USADA case. It fell apart at the start of fight week, though, and while the opportunity was lost, Luque didn’t want the work of a difficult training camp to be, too.
The UFC managed to find newcomer Derrick Krantz (22-10 MMA, 0-0 UFC) to step in against “The Silent Assassin” on short notice. It would seem like a situation where Krantz has everything to gain while Luque has everything to lose, but Luque said he doesn’t see it that way.
“It’s going to be a good thing,” he told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at UFC on ESPN+ 10 open workouts. “Staying active (is) important for me. Going in there and showing what I can do is important for me. It’s one more opportunity to show the fans, show the UFC what I’m capable of doing. That’s always positive. Going in there and getting a win, it’s going to be good for me.”
Such a change in circumstances ahead of what was supposed to be a marquee fight could be enough to cause some fighters anxiety. Especially for someone like Luque, who said he’s never had an opponent pull out of a confirmed matchup prior to Magny.
Luque is not handling the situation emotionally, though, and that’s mainly because he’s been on the other side. He has stepped in on short notice many times and been successful.
The major difference in this situation, however, is that Luque has a full training camp behind him. With that, he believes he can force his offense on Krantz and keep his 100 percent stoppage rate inside the octagon in tact.
“I have experience fighting short notice so the change isn’t bad for me,” Luque said. “I look to impose my will and force my game, so the opponent is not what really matters. What matters is what I’m going to do that night. … I put in so much work for this camp, (and) I’m so ready.”
UFC on ESPN+ 10 takes place at Blue Cross Arena. The entire card streams on ESPN+. To hear Luque’s full media scrum from open workouts, watch the video above.