James Vick believes top-ranked lightweights would have continued to duck him if he’d beat Justin Gaethje

Justin Gaethje, James Vick, UFC Lincoln

Back in August, streaking UFC lightweight contender James Vick stepped into the cage with former World Series of Fighting lightweight champ Justin Gaethje. For Vick, this bout represented an opportunity to vault into UFC lightweight title contention. Unfortunately, however, he was caught by a thunderous punch in the first round, and instead left the Octagon with his win-streak derailed.

Looking back on this loss to Gaethje, James Vick admits it’s been a tough one to swallow.

“I got caught early, and I can’t blame anybody but myself,” he told MMAjunkie Radio. “I got a big opportunity, and I frickin’ blew it, and it sucks. But I’m not any less confident in myself and my skillset. I just feel like it’s going to be a long road back to getting a big fight like that, because these guys already don’t want to fight me anyway.”

“It still sucks and is depressing to lose like that,” he added. “It’s humiliating. But I’ve just got to get on another winning streak. I’m not delusional. Some of this stuff ain’t fair, but life ain’t fair. I may have to go back and win three or four fights, whereas someone like Gaethje only has to win one fight after losing a couple. That’s just the way (expletive) is. I blew my opportunity, and I’ve got to live with that.”

While James Vick is understandably disappointed with the way his fight with Justin Gaethje turned out, he doesn’t think a win over Gaethje would have made his march to a lightweight title shot all that much easier. The loss stung, but he thinks he would have continued to struggle to find willing dance partners even if he’d won.

“Gaethje is about to fight [Anthony Pettis],” he said. “I guarantee if I would have won, Pettis wouldn’t have fought me. These guys still wouldn’t have fought me if I would have won. I still would have had to fight someone ranked below me.”

What do you think the future holds for James Vick in the perilous UFC lightweight division?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/19/2018.