James Vick knows he has had a problem with keeping his hands down and his chin up in the air.
The once ranked lightweight contender has suffered four losses in a row with three coming by knockout to Justin Gaethje, Dan Hooker and Niko Price at welterweight.
Since losing to Price last October, Vick traveled to Thailand and says he has fallen back in love with the sport. He also has recognized the flaws in his technique.
“A lot of it this trip was me falling back in love with fighting. I felt like I lost interest,” Vick told MMA Junkie Radio. “I always did what was required, but all my losses were technical issues. My last fight sucked because I worked with my friend Dorian and I felt like he really helped me better than anyone to keep my hands up and fix these technical issues. And last time I didn’t get to show that – I got caught with a damn upkick. But besides that, all the issues were technical. Fighting with my hands down and my chin up in the air has been a problem my whole career, and no one ever made me pay for it until I got a top-10 level guy.
“It’s hard to talk about that and not offend people. I worked with some great coaches, but sometimes a great coach can’t fix your particular issue. A lot of the coaches I’ve trained with, I know if they took a kid and built them from the ground up, that kid would have great technique. But having someone come to you after four, five years of bad technique and then try to fix those issues, I think that’s what I dealt with in the past – coming to coaches basically already having (expletive) up technique. And that’s my fault, too, for staying with a coach that wasn’t correcting my technique.
“My first boxing coach ever, I had 20 fights under him and I won most of those fights. I was a two-time boxing Golden Gloves champion, so you don’t know what you don’t know. Since, we’ve had a falling out, but I trained with that man for almost 12 years. He was like a second father to me, but he never fixed my problems – so I started with bad technique.”
During his UFC run, Vick has consistently beat unranked foes. But, when he gets to the top-10 of the rankings, that is when he falls short. So, he knows he still belongs inside the Octagon.
“A lot of people talk (expletive). But at the end of the day, to say I don’t belong in the UFC – that’s delusional,” Vick said. “You can say I don’t belong in the top 10, and that’s fine and understandable. But besides getting caught with an up-kick, I’ve never lost to an opponent that hasn’t been a top-10 fighter.”
But, with him being on a four-fight losing skid, James Vick knows his spot on the UFC roster is not secured. Yet, he says he is still being tested by USADA so he believes he’s still on the UFC roster.
“I talked to (matchmaker) Sean Shelby, and I don’t know how much I want to say especially with no fights going on right now – but I’m still in the phase of figuring stuff out,” Vick said. “I’m still in the (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) testing pool, and if anything happens, if a fight happens soon, I’m already in shape. I basically did a training camp in Thailand, so I don’t really know my exact status at the moment with everything going on. I’m not going to talk to Sean at the moment because what’s the point with everything that’s going on? But he did say I’m staying in the USADA pool.”