05 Aug - 
Vicente Luque: Khamzat Chimaev the favorite, but Nate Diaz 'can make it complicated'

LAS VEGAS – Vicente Luque isn’t counting Nate Diaz out against Khamzat Chimaev.

Diaz (20-13 MMA, 18-12 UFC) is a heavy underdog heading into his UFC 279 main event against unbeaten Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) on Sept. 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. But Luque thinks Diaz’s cardio and toughness could play a factor if he’s able to weather the early storm.

“I’m excited for it,” Luque told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN 40 media day. “I love to see Nate fight. I’m just excited that he’s going to fight again. Chimaev, he’s a tough guy. He showed that in his last fight. So I would put Chimaev as the favorite for this one, but Nate can make it complicated. If he survives those first two rounds – he doesn’t get tired. Nate never gets tired, so he can bring the pressure and make it complicated against Chimaev. So I’m excited for that one for sure.”

Luque (21-8-1 MMA, 14-4 UFC) called for the Diaz fight on numerous occasions, but didn’t get his wish. Instead, he’ll look to rebound from his loss to Belal Muhammad in April when he meets Geoff Neal in Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 40 co-main event, which takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 40.