Vicente Luque will return from the longest layoff of his MMA career this Saturday at UFC Vegas 78, and his inactivity is due to a horrific and career-threatening injury.
One of the most active and entertaining fighters in the current UFC with 19 octagon appearances over seven years, “The Silent Assassin” was forced to take a break from competing after an exam revealed he suffered a brain hemorrhage from a stroke. Knockout loss to Jeff Neil in August 2022
Luque’s health situation was kept secret until the Nevada Athletic Commission allowed him to fight Rafael dos Anjos in a five-round main event at UFC APEX on Aug. 12, and he spoke of his fears on a podcast. This Week’s MMA Fighting Episode free exchange.
“Initially they put me on a six-month suspension after the fight,” said Luque. “I had a little blessing in my brain, something more serious than usual. but it did not develop I was under observation in the hospital and did not progress to anything more serious. They gave me a six month break from the fight. But I decided not to do any rehearsals for six months. I only train for grappling, wrestling, conditioning, paddling and stuff like that. I didn’t really do any training to be 100 per cent recovered.”
Luque was initially slated to meet Dos Anjos on July 15, but said he and the UFC later found out that the board had extended his stay for a year after he suffered a brain hemorrhage. Causing the promotion to be postponed to August 12
“I had to do the tests they asked and get permission from a neurologist,” Luque said. “I went to three neurologists and they all told me to fight if I wanted to.”
In the end, Luque thanked the board and the UFC for taking care of his health and safety. and taking time off from competition to develop into a mixed martial artist. The welterweight veteran says being in camp to compete all the time doesn’t make him. “Challenge myself and put me in situations I wouldn’t normally wear at camp,” and added a new twist. to his game
Still, he was worried that it might mean the end of his fighting career.
“I’m very calm and at the same time I’ve always given 100 per cent to MMA,” Luque said. But I know I’m ready if that’s the case. i am calm But the first few days or weeks I really have some doubts. And that made me worry if I could keep fighting. Because fighting is my favorite thing to do. I am still far from dreaming of becoming a champion. i want to achieve that For the first time in my career I had to unconsciously think that something had entered and taken everything away from me.
“But that turned out to be positive. Because it made me consider technical evolution more seriously. Especially in shooting goals. I’m going to war for many years. I fight too much, I can fight, I’m good and I’ll keep trading. But I haven’t developed my abilities the way I can with my feet, dodging, defending, moving. Something that I started paying more attention to.”
Luque did spar when he started the Dos Anjos camp, but he did less than before. His body is recovering better between sessions. Active movements in the cage can also be a problem, he admits, although it helps build a reputation in the sport.
“That was probably a mistake I made,” said Luque. “I won’t say it. Because at the same time it pushes me up a lot in this division. I think it was important at the time, but today, at the level I’m at now. I saw that I needed some time between battles to be able to evolve. Because you get a lot of education at this level. People saw who Vicente Luque was, ‘and how to beat him’. I had to reinvent myself. practice new things And I need time to do that. I won’t change much in three months.”
Luque’s first octagon return finds Dos Anjos across the cage. Luque is a former UFC Lightweight Champion who defeated Bryan Barberena in his return to welterweight in December 2022. Luque expects his fellow Brazilian to grit his teeth and try to exhaust him as he looks for a rematch. late finish or winning decision “And I’m ready for that.”
“Right now, I couldn’t have asked for a better fight for myself,” Luque said. “I think it’s going to be a good fight for the fans. It’s a high level fight. It depends on how I win. Maybe bout of the year or something quite exciting like that. It might end up pushing me up. [in the rankings]. It was a fight that brought me back to the top.”
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