Vicente Luque recounts surprising UFC on ESPN 7 offer to fight Diaz: ‘Are you sure it’s Nick or is it Nate?’

Fans weren’t the only ones surprised to see Nick Diaz book a fight. His upcoming opponent Vicente Luque was also caught off guard.

Luque (22-10-1 MMA, 15-6 UFC), a long time welterweight contender, is scheduled to welcome back Diaz (26-10 MMA, 7-7 UFC) in a five-round fight Aug. 3 at UFC on ABC 7 at Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Diaz, now 40 and with almost three years of inactivity, wasn’t on Luque’s radar.

“I remember when (my manager) Ali (Abdelaziz) called and said, ‘Hey, we got a fight,'” Luque told MMA Junkie Radio. “I wanted to fight at the end of July or beginning of August, so he said we got Aug. 3 and that it was going to be in Abu Dhabi.

“I said, ‘OK, that’s going to be a different place I never fought,’ and he threw the name out there, Nick Diaz. I was like, ‘Are you sure it’s Nick or is it Nate you’re talking about?’ He said, ‘No, it’s Nick. It’s really Nick.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s go.’ It’s going to be an awesome fight. In my mind, Fight of the Night is definitely up for grabs.”

Diaz was one of the biggest stars in MMA in the 2010s. He’s a former Strikeforce champion and ex-UFC title challenger. He and his younger brother Nate Diaz have been part of some of the MMA’s biggest fights.

For Luque, it’s a dream come true to be fighting Diaz.

“Nick is a guy that I always wanted to fight before I got into the UFC,” Luque said. “That was 2014, 2013, 2012, that’s when I was making my way to the UFC and I watched a lot of Nick fights. It was amazing to watch him fight GSP, Carlos Condit, B.J. Penn, and even Anderson Silva. He’s fought all those guys that were legendary, and for me, he’s a guy I always wanted to fight.

“I didn’t think at this point I was going to fight him anymore, but now I do get to fight him. So for me, it was very exciting to get this fight. He’s not in the rankings, but man, it’s Nick Diaz. That’s a big fight regardless. It’s a good fight to get back to my winning ways and set me up for great things after that.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ABC 7.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie