James Vick has arrived on the big stage, performing in his first ever main event tomorrow night at UFC Lincoln when he faces Justin Gaethje in a grudge match that has been brewing for months. But for Vick, tomorrow’s main event is not about Justin Gaethje or any animosity between the two lightweights. It is about having his hard work finally pay off by being provided this platform, something Vick himself was unsure would ever happen:
“I had some doubts at times,” Vick told UFC.com regarding if he would ever have a main event, “not about my skill set, but about the opportunity,” said Vick. “Was I ever gonna get the opportunity? Then, fortunately, I was gifted this opportunity because Al Iaquinta couldn’t fight. But I’ve always been ready for it. I feel like it’s close and I definitely feel that next year I will be a world champion. I believe that with all my heart.
“It only took ten fights and 12 years.”
James Vick knows that to get to the gold, it will require him to continue doing what he has already been doing: sacrificing. And he is well aware that what is easily the biggest step on his journey to UFC champion status is how he responds to the high stakes of a main event:
“I live for this stuff ,and this is part of the sacrifice,” Vick said. “As a pro athlete, you only have a short window to have a career, and I’m willing to go year-round and do whatever I have to do to get to my goal of being a world champion. And after Saturday, I’m gonna change my life.
“You win a UFC main event, it is life changing, especially with us both ranked high,” he said. “I win this fight and I’m one of two fights away from a world title. But pressure is for mentally weak people. I don’t feel any pressure at all. In my mind, I could fight this dude in the backyard, I could fight him anywhere, but my goal is to be a world champion. I don’t care what the stage is. I’m past all that. I’ve had ten fights in the UFC, I’m not worried about any pressure.
“I understand what’s at stake Saturday night,” he said. ‘I’m fully aware this is either my one and only main event or one of many main events. So I have to perform and I will. I’ll get in there and I will change my life on Saturday night.”
Do you believe James Vick is ready for the main event stage?