2022 UFC Dark Horse: Vicente Luque

Nov 2, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Vicente Luque (blue gloves) during his fight against Stephen Thompson (red gloves) during UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC‘s welterweight division is one of the most stacked divisions within the promotion. Atop the division is the pound-for-pound king at the moment, Kamaru Usman. Usman has dominated his way to the title and now he’s fighting guys for the second time during his reign.

One of the guys he has not fought is Vicente Luque (21-7-1). Luque’s nickname matches him perfectly with his nickname being ‘The Silent Assassin’. Despite being clearly one of the best in the world, Luque’s name isn’t mentioned much.

Now, Luque was serving as the backup for UFC 268 when Usman had his rematch with Colby Covington. However, Luque didn’t do himself any favors by missing weight when he was the event’s backup. Dana White said it wasn’t a good look.

Going back to 2015, Luque is an astonishing 14-2 over his last sixteen UFC fights. The two losses came against Wonderboy Thompson and Leon Edwards. It’s clear that Leon Edwards is likely getting the next crack at Kamaru Usman.

So where does that leave Luque and the UFC?

Luque is the UFC’s Dark Horse

Currently, Luque is riding a four-fight winning streak. His last fight came at UFC 265 when he took on Michael Chiesa. Luque impressed everyone when he submitted the talented grappler in the first round.

However, the win leaves Luque in a tough spot. There’s no one for him to fight that makes a lot of sense. From a rankings perspective, Gilbert Burns makes sense. However, Luque and Burns are best friends and have said that they prefer not to fight.

Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal appear to be on a collision course so that would take them off the table. With those options off the table, the UFC has two options but those might be off the table as well.

I like Luque taking on either Belal Muhammad or the hyped prospect Khamzat Chimaev. Luque has already said that he would take the fight with Chimaev. That would be a huge deal for the UFC because it would move Chimaev right into title contention with a win.

However, there’s momentum towards booking Chimaev and Muhammad against each other. It’s astonishing how a guy like Luque is being left out of the conversations with the top guys. He reminds me of where Charles Oliveira was in early 2021.

Luque is definitely a guy to watch this year. I think the UFC will figure out a good opponent for him next and if he impresses, he’s likely going to be challenging for the welterweight title this year.