Texan lightweight James Vick caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss his UFC 211 plans for Polo Reyes, dropping $20k in Australia, and an eventual move to welterweight.
Fresh off of a 3rd round submission of Abel Trujillo at UFC Houston back in February of this year, James “The Texecutioner” Vick is set to put on a show for the Dallas-Fort Worth section of Texas, as this Saturday night’s UFC 211 will be a home game for the 10-1 lightweight. His opposition comes in the form of the TUF Latin America: Season 2 contestant, Marco Polo Reyes, who has gone 3-0 in the UFC since the show.
Before locking horns in the Lone Star State, Vick caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss how he will pull from his amateur boxing background for UFC 211, how the Australian tax rate put a damper on his wallet, and talks about an eventual move to 170.
The secret to success:
“I have laser-like focus, first off. I don’t have a million other interests. I go hunting and fishing a little bit. Every now and then I play basketball or something. Literally, I live, sleep, and breathe fighting. I don’t watch television. All I watch is fighting. I don’t have a bunch of extracurricular activities.”
The secret to success- Part 2:
“I believe I’m mentally stronger than some of these guys. I feel like I break a lot of these guys, no matter how many years of training they have. For example, my last fight, I feel like I broke Abel Trujillo. Realistically, I shouldn’t be beating that guy. I took him down; I shouldn’t be taking down a 3-time NAIA All American wrestler, when I never wrestled a day in high school, or anything, my whole life. He was a 3-time college All American; that’s embarrassing, the fact that I could take him down, but it just shows you how I’m much more mentally strong, compared to these guys I’m fighting.”
Cutting the ‘BS’ to find an affinity for front chokes:
“Well, I have a whole choke series, a bunch of chokes; my Guillotine, D’arce, Anaconda. I set them up from many different places. I have a system, me and my coaches, Master Lloyd Irvin, my Jiu-Jitsu coach back home Master Sina Hadad. I just do tons of reps from different angles, and have different set-ups. I’ve learned how to use my body. I don’t really drill or practice a bunch of moves; it’s really pointless for me. I don’t do all that. I have a lot of catching up to do compared to guys who have trained for years. I basically cut the bullsh-t, and go straight to stuff that works for my body type, and it’s worked out great for me.”
Earning a Performance of the Night bonus by choking out Jake Matthews at UFC Australia:
“That was probably the greatest highlight of my whole career, and the greatest night of my life when I won that fight. I got the bonus, and then I stayed an extra week and went and saw The Great Barrier Reef. I got to just go see the world for the first time like that. It was amazing, until they hit me with that Australian tax, and then that wasn’t too cool.”
Uncle Sam is known to get his, but how steep was the Australian tax?
“33.5%. Yeah, I didn’t get any of it back, didn’t get none of it back. Yeah, it was horrible.”
Not interested in fighting outside of the United States of America:
“If I have to go elsewhere, I will. It’s not a problem. I definitely don’t want to fight in any other countries. I really don’t, after the way Australia taxes were. They took literally $20,000 of my money, and I never got any of it back. I could have literally taken the greatest vacation in the world to Australia, and did whatever I wanted to with 20-extra thousand dollars. So, I have no interest in fighting overseas anymore. It’s not worth it.”
Experiencing first loss at UFC 199 to Top-10 lightweight Beneil Dariush:
“I just felt like I got caught. He timed a counter punch, right off of a head kick, and just landed with a perfectly timed shot. I felt like that wasn’t the issue when I got there, it was the ground and pound. I got hit on the ground several times, and I was never able to recover. It was more of what he did right, than what I did wrong. Obviously, we’ve all got holes we need to fix… After that fight, a lot of people asked if I should change this or change that. I didn’t really change anything. I believe in the system I have, I just believe that I got caught.”
UFC Houston saw Abel Trujillo spend almost half of the 2nd round in a D’arce; following an emphatic flying knee, you finished with a D’arce in the third.
Did you make an adjustment, or was it the knee that aided the ending?
“The knee helped, that’s for sure, because he was rocked pretty bad. Honestly, it’s weird because my arms are so long. Usually, a lot of muscular guys are easier to choke out because they have bigger necks and stuff like that, but Abel Trujillo was a weird, funny build kind of. He has a muscular upper body but his neck wasn’t really that thick.”
“I felt like I shot the choke too deep, like it was too deep and it was more of a crank than a blood choke. If someone gets cranked in class, in Jiu-Jitsu practice, they’re going to tap, but in competition or a fight, they’re not going to tap necessarily. They’re going to fight it more, and I felt like that’s what happened.
“The second round, I didn’t shoot it quite as deep, and I pulled it back a little better. I was real confident after I landed the knee, obviously, but I heard him making weird noises and stuff, and knew he was about to tap.”
Fighting at home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area:
“I’m so excited. I have so many people coming. I haven’t fought in the DFW area, the Dallas-Fort Worth area since before I was in the UFC. So, I’m super excited right now. I can’t wait.”
Dallas Cowboys fan?
“Yeah, I don’t really watch a lot of football, but if I had to pick a team, I gotta go with the home team, for sure.”
Marco Polo Reyes at UFC 211:
“My Jiu-Jitsu skills are obviously top level, but it’s because all these guys try to take me down. I don’t go in there shooting doubles on them. Now, if something presents itself, then I may take it, but my gameplan has never been to go in there and blast doubles and put him down. I think I can beat Polo Reyes anywhere, though. I can out-strike him. I can stand, and we can only box. He’s primarily a boxer. I can only box with him and I think I win that battle.”
Fighting 15 Polo Reyes’:
So, I’ve dealt with this style many times before, and I always won. I always beat them all. I guess if the opportunity to take him down and submit him presents itself, or if he shoots in for a takedown. I don’t think he’s dumb enough to try to take me down. I think he knows that he’ll submitted real quick, should he do that. But, you never know. I guess if you hurt someone, maybe they start changing their gameplan up, or whatever. We’ll see what presents itself, but my goal is to get a finish within the first 2 rounds, without taking any damage to the body.”
Do you have anyone in mind that you would like to face next?
“Yeah, I’m saving that for fight night, so tune in May 13th!”
Being 6’3 and fighting at 155 pounds, a move to 170 is inevitable:
“It’s very hard to make the weight. I’m not going to lie. It’s always been very hard, but I do make it, and I work with the best nutritionist. I work with George Lockhart, and he’s the man, he’s the best, and he’ll be out there. It’s never easy, but being a fighter isn’t easy. My goal is to be a world champion, and that’s not an easy task. It’s hard, and eventually I’ll move up to 170, but right now I know I can make the weight. It’s tough, but I always make it, and I always perform on fight night.”
James Vick is set to take on Marco Polo Reyes on the preliminary card of UFC 211, in Dallas, Texas on May 13, 2017. The event is expected to be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Junior dos Santos. The co-main event will witness Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade for the women’s strawweight title. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!