UFC welterweight Michael Chiesa says he hopes to secure a title shot with a victory over “killer” Vicente Luque at UFC 265.
Chiesa, who is the #5-ranked man in the division, will look to stake his claim for an opportunity to dethrone Kamaru Usman with a win on this weekend’s pay-per-view main card. “Maverick” was last in action in the UFC on Fight Island 8 headliner at the start of the year. An impressive unanimous decision victory over Neil Magny extended his winning streak, which also includes wins against Rafael dos Anjos and Carlos Condit, to four.
Looking to become the first blemish on Chiesa’s record since his return to 170-pounds will be Luque. “The Silent Assassin” will be riding a three-fight winning streak that includes dominant performances against Niko Price, Randy Brown, and former champion Tyron Woodley into Saturday’s PPV.
While Chiesa is looking to book a meeting with “The Nigerian Nightmare” in the near future, he’s certainly not looking past a fellow contender like Luque. Ahead of August’s first event, Chiesa discussed his opponent and the welterweight title picture with MMA News’ own James Lynch. Praising Luque, the 33-year-old suggested the Brazilian is the most “dangerous” man he’s ever been matched up with.
“There’s no guy I’ve fought that’s more dangerous than Vicente Luque. I mean, just look at his strength of schedule and how he’s just gone out and just finished guys time and time again. I mean, he’s racking up bonuses left and right. He’s very dangerous, and I’m very aware of the threats that he possesses. You want to respect all your opponents, but if you take him even (an inch) lightly, he will capitalize. He’s a killer, man. So I gotta be on my toes on fight night. You start getting lackadaisical around Vicente Luque, he’s gonna slip something through the cracks and knock you out or choke you out.”
With that said, Chiesa added that a victory over a welterweight like Luque will certainly take him towards the top of the queue for a shot at the 170-pound gold.
“This is the most dangerous guy I’ve ever fought. And that’s why I feel like if I can come away with a win, I got a very, very strong claim to be the next guy…
“If I can go out there and beat Vicente Luque, there’s no reason why it can’t be me. If I can go out there and get my hand raised…and look at the guys I beat, especially the last three. I mean, how many other guys could’ve put together three straight wins against three ranked opponents? RDA was #5, Magny was #9, Vicente will be #6 if I beat him. That’s a good strength of schedule. That’s enough to stake my claim. I’m already bugging [UFC EXECUTIVE] Hunter Campbell about it. I’m like, ‘Dude, if I win this fight, you better be calling me.’”
Catch our full interview with Michael Chiesa ahead of UFC 265 below:
Despite losing its championship co-main event, which was scheduled to see Amanda Nunes defend her bantamweight belt for the sixth time against Julianna Peña, UFC 265 still boasts a number of exciting names and fights.
In the main event, top heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane will look to secure a date with Francis Ngannou by being crowned the interim heavyweight champ inside Houston’s Toyota Center. Along with Chiesa and Luque’s battle of welterweight contenders, former 145-pound king José Aldo is also set to be in action against his compatriot Pedro Munhoz. With the likes of Angela Hill, Song Yadong, and Rafael Fiziev all ready to throw hands at the event, the PPV should be another entertaining watch.
Do you think Michael Chiesa can defeat Vicente Luque at UFC 265 and secure a shot at Kamaru Usman’s welterweight title?