“It’s the quiet ones you’ve gotta watch out for.”
Vicente Luque certainly wasn’t the impetus for this old George Carlin line that has turned into a recurring, playful quip about those that keep to themselves and don’t say a whole lot, but given what “The Silent Assassin” has done inside the Octagon during his six-plus years on the UFC roster, it’s a pretty fair warning to the rest of the welterweight division.
The 29-year-old Brazilian has gone 12-3 in 15 UFC appearances heading into his main card clash with former champ Tyron Woodley this weekend, having won eight of his last nine, and 12 of his last 14 since dropping a decision to Michael Graves in his promotional debut. Along the way, the mild-mannered, good-natured Luque has earned 11 stoppage victories, including a first-round finish of Belal Muhammad at UFC 205 and back-to-back finishes of Niko Price (for a second time) and Randy Brown last year.
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An all-action fighter who has earned a Fight of the Night bonus in three of his last six outings, Luque is more than willing to wade into the fire and take a shot in order to land one of his own, trusting that his chin will hold up and his blows will carry a greater impact, and more often than not, he’s been right. The only two people to defeat him since that debut loss back in the summer of 2015 are top contenders Leon Edwards and Stephen Thompson, and both were entertaining, competitive fights that went the distance.
This weekend’s bout with Woodley marks another opportunity for Luque to graduate from being a dangerous threat in the middle-third of the Top 15 to a bona fide contender in the 170-pound weight class. Though “The Chosen One” has struggled of late, he’s still hung tough, battling and surviving into the fifth round in each of his three consecutive setbacks, so if Luque can go out and secure a finish in this three-round affair, it should let whoever isn’t already aware of his considerable talents and the threat he poses to the welterweight elite that he really is one to watch out for going forward.