I’ll admit I was a tad surprised to see Luque come out of this one with a loss next to his name. Everything seemed to be clicking for the Brazilian, with a savage string of finishes against Michael Chiesa, Tyron Woodley, Randy Brown, and Niko Price positioning him for his first main event.
Not only did Luque (21-8-1 MMA, 14-4 UFC) get that main event showcase, but he got it against a man he already knocked out – and quite brutally at that – several years ago. This was his moment, but he wasn’t wasn’t able to deliver, and now Luque has to take a backseat to the suddenly crowded upper tier of the welterweight division.
Luque’s only losses in his past 17 fights are against Muhammad, Stephen Thompson and Leon Edwards. That’s nothing to dismiss, but if he wants to get over the hump he eventually needs to win the big one against that type of name. He’s had chances, though, and it might take him a couple wins to get back to a similar opportunity as this one.
Fortunately, the welterweight division is filled with killers, and anyone who knows Luque is aware he’ll take any fight presented to him. That’s why it’s time for him to serve as the litmus test for Sean Brady.
Brady (15-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) is part of the new wave at 170 pounds, and the American seems to have a complete package. His striking is serviceable, his strength and grappling are elite, and his submission game is dangerous. He’s not extremely dissimilar to Muhammad from a stylistic perspective, so it would be a good matchup for Luque to prove he’s fixed some of the holes that led to this most recent defeat.
On the flip side, too, Brady would get the chance to secure that signature win that would enter him into the title contender conversation.