EXCLUSIVE | James Vick: “2018, I’m going to be a world champion”

James Vick

One of the UFC lightweight division’s biggest dark horses continued his winning ways last Saturday after earning yet another impressive victory over Francisco Trinaldo thus extending his current winning streak to four. “The Texicutioner” James Vick is ready for 2018 which he thinks will be his year as he told BJ Penn Radio this week.

“I’m about to be 31 years old this week, on Friday’s my birthday, I’m gonna be 31 years old. I don’t feel old at all I started in this game late. I feel young as shit, I feel like I’m in my athletic prime. But at the same time the older you get, the UFC is hardly promoting me now, the older you get it’s even harder to get promoted. I’m not gonna fight someone for the same damn pay unless they’re ranked above me.

It’s gonna be this year. Spoke that into existence. I believe the law of attraction and by the end of the year, I’ll be a world champion.

I’m a fucking nine and one, six foot three lightweight, I’m a future world champion, I ain’t no motherfucking stepPing stone gatekeeper. It’s time they start realizing that shit. These guys don’t want to fight me, well, fuck ’em. Like I said, I’m not taking these FUCKING clowns any more, I’m taking KHabib [Nurmagomedov], I’m taking Tony Ferguson, I’m taking [Conor] McGregor, I’m takinG world titles. I’m going to be a world champion by the end of the year.

I’m coming for a world title this year. 2018, I’m going to be a world champion”

The ten fight UFC vet, Vick isn’t short on confidence. But even after his unanimous decision victory over Trinaldo, he still feels slightly overlooked.

“I mean, here’s the thing, I don’t care whether people agree with this or not but at the end of the day, I do have one of the best records in the entire organization. You can’t name two other people that have a 9-1 record in the UFC. The only guy I know that has a better record is Khabib because he’s never lost. He’s the only one. You know what I’m saying. Pretty much that loss in the UFC, that’s one more than nine fights.”

At UFC Fight Night 126 in Austin, Texas, Vick wasn’t the only one to get an impressive win. In the headliner, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone got back to his winning ways with a first-round knockout over Yancy Medeiros. Cowboy declared after the fight that he is interested in going back to his old home of 155-pounds. Something that Vick had comments about.

“You know, I thought Yancy looked good. I thought he got caught. I thought Cerrone, I mean, Cerrone looked good considering but I thought Cerrone looked like a 35-year-old man out there. He looked older. He looked slower. He looked like he really doesn’t belong at 170 he looked a little bit soft around the midsection. Not necessarily, but you know what I mean, he didn’t look like he’s a natural 170.

I mean, of course, it would [be a fight that interests me] because of his name value but if the UFC asked me to fight him, I’m gonna tell them to pay me. Because he’s still not ranked above me. He’s still not ranked… Now I’m sure he comes back and wins one fight they’ll rank him in the top ten because of who he is just like they did Pettis. Pettis beat a 40-year-old Jim Miller and they ranked him in the top 15. He was 2-4 at that time, in the last six fights, now he’s 3-5 or some shit, the last few fights. I’m sure if Cerrone came back they’d immediately rank him right at what’s he want to fight, so obviously, for name value, I would but I’m not gonna fight an unranked person. I don’t care who their name value is unless they are gonna pay me more money.”

There’s no denying that Vick is one of the rising stars in the lightweight division’s loaded pool of talent and it’s about time he gets what he’s looking for. His next fight will surely be that of bigger notoriety and he has an idea on when he would like it to be.

“Depending on the situation, I probably will try to fight the end of July, beginning of August. Be home with the baby, my girl, move into the new place, get everything situated before I leave to go to camp.”


This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/23/2018.