Diaz (20-13 MMA, 18-12 UFC) is a serious underdog who will take on the undefeated Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) on September 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in the main event of UFC 279. But Luque believes Diaz’s cardio and endurance could make all the difference if he can weather the early storm.
“I’m excited about this,” Luke told MMA Junkie and other reporters at UFC Wednesday ESPN 40 media day. “I love watching Nate fight. I’m just excited that he’s going to fight again. Chimaev, he’s a tough guy. He showed it in his last fight. So I would call Chimaev the favorite for this one, but Nate can make things difficult. If he survives those first two rounds, he won’t get tired. Nate never gets tired, so he can apply pressure and complicate things against Chimaev. So I’m very happy about it.”
Luque (21-8-1 MMA, 14-4 UFC) called for a fight with Diaz many times, but did not get his wish. Instead, he will look to bounce back from his loss to Belal Muhammad in April when he faces Jeff Neil in Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 40 co-main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The map airs on ESPN and airs on ESPN+.
To learn more about the card, visit the MMA Junkie event center to UFC on ESPN 40.
ESPN 40 UFC Breakdown: Can Jamahal Hill Beat Former Title Challenger Thiago Santos?