Matt Lucas has been competing in mixed martial arts for over a decade. His dream was to fight for the UFC and in November of 2011, that goal was achieved as he fought Aaron Rosa on the undercard for UFC on Fox 1. The fight did not go his way, and now Lucas is hoping to get another shot, but this time in the middleweight division. MMA Recap caught up with Lucas to discuss his career, his UFC fight, and more.
So what got you into fighting?
I was a wrestler in college and I wanted to stay competitive like a lot of wrestlers do currently. I got into it back in 2000.
Were you competing in mixed martial arts while you were still active as a wrestler in college?
No right when I got done with college I moved to Houston I picked up jiu jitsu and got competitive into the MMA scene.
For those that don’t know, what were your wrestling credentials?
I was a two-time All American while in college.
For your first fight in the UFC it was at UFC on Fox. You mentioned that it was your first time under the big lights and it probably didn’t help that it was the first ever card for Fox. Can you talk a bit about the nerves in that fight?
You know being back to the big show, I did fight on the big EliteXC card on Showtime back in the day that had a lot of people there too. Being that it was a goal of mine to fight at the UFC and that I had been working all this time, twelve years to get there, and there it was. I didn’t have too many nerves until I got in there. Once I got in there, it seemed more like a wrestling match or a grappling match than a fight. Our goal was to put him up against the fence. It made the fight boring, I caught some flack for that. No excuses, but the jitters and the fact that I was in a weight class above where I should have been for that big stage. I know Jason my agent was trying to get me in at 185, but we got a call to fight at 205 I didn’t care, I wanted to fight for the UFC. I was a very small 205er as I weighed in at 201. I think about the fight every day and I wish I could have done better. Hopefully I get another shot at 185 and get to show what I am good at doing.
What did you take away from the fight?
To be more active. I think I could have thrown my hands a bit more. The gameplan I stuck to, but I think we could have flurried more. I would have gotten more takedowns had I done that. I was worried about getting him up against the fence. Then there was the fact that my mouth piece that didn’t come in on time. I had a poo-dunk mouth piece that kept falling out. Joe Rogan was ripping on me about it and I got deducted a point. Coming in more prepared with equipment and more of what I am good at doing.
Prior to your UFC debut you were on a five fight win streak all within Rage in the Cage. What was it like fighting for one of the more known regional promotions?
The Rage in the Cage owner catches a lot of flack. The Rollands have never done me any wrong. They have matched me up with UFC veterans, and Bellator runner up twice. I’ve had some good match ups. There’s some fights that are ridiculous, but I have had good fights. They’ve always been supportive and good. I’m glad to be there champion.
I noticed that you fought Shawn Frye twice and both times won relatively fast with strikes. What was the reasoning behind the second matchup with Frye?
The first fight I caught him in a crucifix and they pulled me off him kinda quick and he was upset. For the rematch, I like him, but he and his corner were talking a lot of smack. Even Rolland even told me they said they were going beat me. Frye wanted the rematch and he wanted to beat me. My previous rematch I had against Richard Hale and I lost, so now I wanted to take that challenge. I was kind of pissed and that’s why I got the quicker KO. I didn’t want to take it to the ground as I wanted to show him my standup was just as good as my ground and I think I did.
Now do you have a fight coming up that you are training for?
Jason with ASA is the best agent in the world. He’s brought me some offers and I have been doing my business work. I’ve been back around and in the gym. I just need to work on my shape a little bit, but I would like to finish out my career. Look for something in the next 60-90 days.
Any particular type of opponent that you want to fight?
I’d rather fight a striker. I wish I could fight Aaron Rosa to 185. I know he already shrunk like 60lbs to fight at 205, so if I could shrink him down to 185 I think we would have a different outcome. Someone like that. I’ve been wrestling forever and so if I fight another wrestler I know I will be wrestling or a grappling match. I don’t mind fighting wrestlers, but I would love to test skills with a kickboxing guy or a jiu jitsu guy.
Are you still training out of Arizona Combat Sports and if so, what’s it like training with some of the guys that have come through there in the past?
Yes. I am doing some lifting at a place called Animal Freak Fitness. I am doing my lifting and strength training there and my MMA at Arizona Combat Sports. The coaches at ACS are great. The workout partners there are second to none. You go over there and you train. All the guys are going to push you. You can go to other gyms and be the dominant guy, but you need guys to push you to help your career.
Looking back at your career, which fight would you say was your favorite?
Probably my favorite fight was the Homer Moore. He was a national champion, fought a lot of former guys like Evan Tanner and Dan Severn. He was kind of the bully at Rage in the Cage. He had also beaten me at free-style wrestling. I got to go in and had Joe Riggs in my corner, and Homer had beaten him in the cage. Joe said it was personal like he was living through me. For me to go out and beat him when he hadn’t been beaten at 205. To win the Rage title I knew I could compete and I never looked back.
According to the UFC website you were born in Indianapolis. Does that mean you are a Colts fan or an Arizona Cardinals fan?
Actually I am Denver fan. I went to school in Colorado. I like both the Colts and Cardinals but my team is the Broncos.
What do you like to do when you aren’t training?
I work. I hang out with my two little boys. One is twelve and one that is four. That’s the best part of my time. I hang out with my brothers and family.
Where did the nickname Luke Duke come from?
It came from college all my friends called me Luke Duke. Then when I started fighting ten years ago they asked what do people call you, I said off the cuff they call me Luke Duke. Then the next thing you know, it stuck.
What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
Honey Bunches of Oats is what I like. It’s kinda healthy.
Where can the fans find you at?
They can find me on Facebook. I need to get more on my twitter @lukedukeufc. Facebook is where you will find me the most.
Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
My agent Jason Chambers and the people at ASA. Arizona Combat, Animal Freak Fitness. Also the Homies No Mas and Audi is a good masseuse, and Bad Blood MMA.