Vicente Luque thinks overthinking has cost him in his recent losses.
Luque (21-9-1 MMA, 14-5 UFC) has lost back-to-back to Belal Muhammad and Geoff Neal, who became the first fighter to knock Luque out. However, prior to that, Luque had finished four straight opponents – including former champion Tyron Woodley.
“The Silent Assassin” will look to rebound when he meets ex-lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos (33-14 MMA, 21-12 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 226 on Aug. 12.
“I think I got all the finishes because I used to fight free in the sense that I didn’t care much about if it was going to be a finish or not,” Luque told Middle Easy. “What I did always want to do is to put on the best show I can, to do the most impressive fight that I can do. That’s what motivates me and that’s what I used to do in the past, and I kind of – I was so focused on that run for the title, looking for that title shot and getting the all the wins I needed to, I started not fighting as free as I used to.
“‘I’ve got to be too strategical. I’ve got to make sure that this or that doesn’t happen so that I can do this, and then I’m going to get the win, and then I’m going to get those steps toward the title, and then I can fight for the title, and then I can become champion’ – and that’s never been me. So I think that now, that’s the key: just to go in there and do what I do, because what I do is always good, it’s always fun and it has worked all my life.”
Dos Anjos found success when he moved up to welterweight. But after he lost four of his next five, he opted to return to his original home. Now dos Anjos is back up at 170 pounds and Luque sees a specific advantage he can capitalize on.
“I think that that’s a really good thing I’ve got going in this fight, because not only I’m probably the heavier of the two of us, so that’s going to kind of help me in the grappling sense – I’m not the guy that will go more; I believe he’s going to go more for the grappling, so I’m going to have that weight advantage,” Luque said. “Maybe if we’re on the fence or if he’s trying to get me down, I think that’s going to be good to have a little bit weight on top of him, but obviously that comes into the speed.
“Maybe he’s going to have the slight speed advantage. That’s not something that worries me that much because I am pretty quick with my hands and the foot movement, and that’s something I’ve been working even more now. So that’s something that I’m not going to be too concerned about. And the other advantage, I think, is the reach, so I’m going to have also the reach advantage on him. I think it’s mostly going to be how I’m able to use that in my favor.”