James Vick was on his way to becoming a lightweight contender last year before he faced Justin Gaethje at UFC Fight Night 135.
We all know what happened there. Vick suffered his first knockout loss since June 2016 and halted his four-fight win streak. While the 31-year-old admits he made mistakes in the fight, he also explained why things outside the cage were a disaster leading up to the matchup.
“[The Gaethje fight] was the worst weight cut I ever had in my life, I was going to die” Vick told MMANews. “It’s hard, everybody wants to say you should move up, you’re too big. But it’s hard to say that when I’ve never followed the program, I’ve always cheated on my diet and I’ve still made weight. I’ve cheated my diet every single time and I’ve still never missed weight. So this time I made sure I’m not cheating my diet. I’m doing what I have to do. George Lockhart is very happy where we’re at, the way my body is leaning out and everything. I’m expecting to be to be there 4-5 pounds lighter.”
We know the sacrifices fighters make during camp and for Vick, cutting out sugar has been a challenge throughout his fight career.
“I’ve had a problem in the past with sugar. It’s rough for me to give up food to be honest with you because that’s the only thing in life my life I haven’t sacrificed. Like I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t party. I haven’t drank alcohol in two and a half years. The only thing I have left is my diet. It’s not even bad food as far as like I can eat chicken and broccoli every day. But then I want sugar you know what I’m saying? I’ve pretty much fixed the problem. I realize that unless I’m going to fix it then I’m going to have to move up weight. It’s not that I can’t compete in the next weight class, I one hundred percent know I can. Here I am, it took nine f***ing wins in the UFC to even be ranked where I’m at [at lightweight] how many am I going to have to win in the weight class up? I’d have to win three fights in a row to be ranked in the Top 15.”
Vick (13-2) looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in his career when he faces Paul Felder at UFC on ESPN 1. These two were originally supposed to meet last July at UFC Fight Night 133 before Vick was moved to the fight against Gaethje. While he assures fans they will be in for an exciting fight, Vick also admits he can’t be reckless in the matchup.
“I see me winning this fight, I think it’s tough. It can go several ways. Felder has never been finished, he’s no joke. I think he’s well rounded but I can win everywhere. I go to the ground we win, if we stand up I think I can win a decision in this fight. I feel like he’s going to come forward and get frustrated with my movement. I feel like I can hurt him. Joe Duffy had never been knocked out or finished before he fought me either. That being said I’m not going to take any unnecessary risks. I think I can win a decision all day against Felder. Even me moving and going that route won’t be a boring fight. It’s still going to be a super exciting fight. We could definitely get ‘Fight of the Night.”
UFC on ESPN 1 takes place at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, AZ. The main event pits former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez against Francis Ngannou.