Eduardo Martinez: How did it feel to step into the cage earlier this year when you faced Victor Martinez for the title?
Luke Flores: It was a great feeling because his coach Carlos Diego (Ferreira) had won the 155 lbs championship and he got signed with the UFC. So just getting that title, that Carlos Diego had, it really meant a lot to me. It was one of my goals that I had reached. So it felt really great.
EM: When the fight started, you threw a couple of aggressive bodykicks. Was that something you planned beforehand, or did you see an opening when the fight started?
LF: I had been training that, because I knew that he had a real good overhand right. I stand southpaw and he’s a regular stance fighter. When you throw your right hand, I could get my left leg in there for the liver. So it works pretty effectively. I studied a lot of muay thai fights for that fight, so I could get that kick down for that specific style of fighter, like Victor.
EM: You were pretty comfortable off your back when it went to the ground. How do you feel about your ground game? Do you feel it has gotten better?
LF: Yes sir, it has. I feel like that in that fight with Victor, I criticized myself a lot. I was playing guard too much. I was just going submission, after submission, after submission. I felt like he wasn’t giving me too much damage, I’m pretty sure he only connected once, when he broke my tooth. But that’s about it. I felt like he was trying to punch me too much, giving me his arm, so I was just determined to get that arm. Sometimes it could bite you in the butt, trying to go for a submission over and over again. I kind of felt that I was going to catch it, and get it, and I did.
EM: At that moment, how did it feel when you realized you won the title in front of your family and friends?
LF: Oh man, it’s a great feeling, putting in all that work. Especially the days before the weigh-in, it’s real tough, just making weight period. I don’t know how it’s like for the other fights, but you get real drained out. You don’t want to talk to a lot of people, you get annoyed with a lot of things. You’re not eating, you can’t eat bread. I haven’t eaten bread in like 13 days. It’s just a really good feeling that it all paid off, sacrificing normal things that people take for granted. I really enjoyed it. Especially winning in front of my family, my wife, all my friends. Especially in my hometown, I was raised in Mission, and Mission is like a minute from McAllen. Winning at the McAllen Convention Center was a real big deal for me. It’s a big accomplishment to win that belt.
EM: Can you tell us about how your training camp is going right now?
LF: I actually started training with Victor Martinez, Carlos Diego, Da Costa. The Bellator fight got pulled up and we started training together. Yeah man, we started training together and I got to say that it’s a real big movement that we are making training together.
EM: How does it feel performing now on Bellator, this week?
LF: I never thought I would be on a big stage like that. Since I’m from Mission, not a lot of people get to perform in top leagues like that, a professional type of platform. And for me to be one of those people to get that type of exposure, it’s pretty humbling. I think of myself as being humble, I never think of myself as better than anybody. It’s just a real big accomplishment being on that fight card. And my next accomplishment is to shock everybody and make a highlight. That’s my next goal.
EM: How familiar are you with your opponent?
LF: My opponent, I had two opponents. I don’t know what happened to them, this is my third one. I found out two weeks ago, I had a friend that fought him. I know his style, he’s a good grappler, a ground guy, but I still feel like I’ve been training the right people. My coach is Frank Treviño, Abram Torres, Carlos Diego, Da Costa, Victor Martinez, Robert Aguirre, just so many people that have been in the game for a long time, training with them. I feel like I’m going to shine on this fight and I’m going to get the ‘W’. I know he’s a real experienced fighter, and a veteran of the sport. He’s had 20 fights, he’s fought Dustin Poirier, Daniel Pineda, just some really good fighters. I feel like it’s my turn. Hopefully that experience rubs off on me.
EM: Any last thing you would like to say to fans?
LF: Just that, thank you all for the State Farm Arena. I plan on making my city happy and getting a ‘W’. Thank you for the support and thanks to my family, wife.
EM: Thank you so much Luke.
LF: Yes sir, thank you very much.