UFC Lincoln headliner James Vick is gearing up to face the promotion’s #7 ranked lightweight, Justin Gaethje, this Saturday night. Currently ranked #10 in the world at 155 pounds, Vick extended his winning streak to four-straight with a unanimous decision victory over Francisco Trinaldo back at UFC Austin in February of this year. Before marching into battle and attempting to climb further up the divisional ladder, the 13-1 Vick caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss his unanimous nod over Trinaldo, his potential hunting adventures with UFC featherweight Chad Mendes, and talks turkey about his main event showdown with the man he calls “The Homer Simpson of MMA.”
**The complete interview video can be seen at the top of the page.
Saturday’s UFC Lincoln main card will air live on FS1 at 10:00 P.M. ET with the prelims starting at 8:00 P.M. ET on the same station. The Exclusive Fight Pass prelims will begin at 6:30 P.M. ET.
- Last time we saw you in the Octagon, you picked up a unanimous decision over Francisco Trinaldo at UFC Austin back in February of this year. What did you think of your performance out there against a ranked opponent?
“ I felt good. I got a lot of criticism for moving. I dislocated one of my fingers in the last round, like five seconds into the round. I dislocated my finger so I had to pop it back in place and keep moving. Trinaldo’s a tough dude. My dude was 8-1 in his last 9 fights in the UFC. It’s not like I beat a can. I beat a legit dude who has shut down a lot of up and comers. I wasn’t going to be that guy to get caught like that. I out-landed the guy 3-1. I felt like I had a good performance. I didn’t get the finish like I wanted to but before that, I highlight-reeled three people in a row. It ain’t always going to happen like that when you’re fighting the best fighters in the world.”
- How is the finger? All healed up and ready to go?
“It was good a month after that. Four or five weeks after that it’s back to 100%. It’s good.”
- Did it affect your shot any while hunting?
“No, no. Other hand, I shoot left hand actually.”
- Are you naturally left handed?
“It’s weird. I don’t know, what do they call that, ambidextrous? I write with my right hand. I shoot a basketball with my right hand. I play pool left handed. I shoot a gun left handed. I don’t know. More activities than not I do do right handed, but I do do a lot of stuff left handed. I play pool left handed, I shoot a gun left handed, I shoot a bow left handed as well. Something with the eyesight on this side or something, maybe. I don’t know.”
- I spoke with top UFC featherweight Chad Mendes recently, who is also an avid hunter. We were discussing his celebrity hunting services company Finz & Featherz, and your name came up. What’s you involvement with that?
“He was working on getting me out there maybe on one of his things, but we haven’t went into any details about anything yet. I’d love to go out there and go hunting with him and be one of those guys out there. Mostly, I’ve only did my hunting and fishing in Texas. It’s always great to other states. I hunted in Australia, when I fought there, and then I’ve hunted in Hawaii, because my girlfriend was born and raised in Hawaii. Besides that, I haven’t been out of the state, or country a lot, so it would be cool. I’ve known Chad for years. I’ve known him since 2012, since I was on The Ultimate Fighter and he was one of the coaches.”
- What are your feelings on headlining your first UFC card?
“It’s been a long time coming, and I’m happy. I feel blessed. Like I said at the press conference, I’m not going to cry over spilled milk or something that happened in the past. My record speaks for itself. People can say whatever they want about who has he beat, who have you beat. I’m 9-1 in the UFC? Not many. Maybe a handful of guys have a record like that. Regardless of who the hell you beat, I beat nine guys in the UFC. That’s who I beat. The best organization in the world.”
- Getting the main event slot because of Justin Gaethje:
“Believe it or not, even though me and Justin Gaethje went back and forth with a lot of trash talk, and stuff like that, I respect him and I do appreciate – I really do appreciate him taking the fight, because if not I wouldn’t have gotten the main event. I one-hundred percent am aware of that, because none of these other guys are willing to fight me. Fortunately, he’s a real fighter and he took the fight.”
- The betting odds have you listed as the betting favorite. Are you surprised at the respect being shown to you in the gambling world?
“I think I should be the favorite. I’m 9-1 in the UFC; he’s 1-2. I don’t give a f—k who he’s fought, he lost. Say what you want to, but he lost two out of his three fights. I think the press conference really helped me. You know how it is. You’ve been in the MMA world too for years now. The most popular guy sometimes is always perceived as the better one. Now, I’m definitely not as popular as Justin Gaethje, but off of that press conference, I got way more shine than he did.”
- The Homer Simpson of MMA:
Basically, I made the dude look stupid, so that probably helped me with my odds. I called him the Homer Simpson of MMA, and that’s like a trend now. So, everyone’s catching on. That probably helped, which is not too great for me because I would prefer to be the underdog, because you know I’m a gambler. I always bet on fights, so I’m going to bet on myself. I’m hoping those odds get closer so I can maybe get even odds, or somewhere around there, and then I can bet as much money and win more.”
- What are the odds that Gaethje starts shooting in on you?
“I don’t know. I hope he does. I really hope he does, because the dude has no gas tank. He publicly admitted this. This isn’t my words, this is his, that he don’t wrestle in MMA because it gasses you out. And he’s right, offensive wrestling is the most tiring part of MMA, but I don’t know what his end game would be for him trying to take me down. He’s not going to damage me or hurt me on the ground. I’ve never really been hurt on the ground like that, by anybody really. I’m going to get up in ten seconds, or I’m going to catch his neck and submit him.”
- What’s your official prediction for UFC Lincoln?
“I think he’s going to get knocked out. One-hundred percent. I think he’s going to get finished, just because I can move around Justin Gaethje for five rounds and win a decision. One-hundred percent. The thing is, is he’s not the guy that’s going to stay on the outside. He’d rather get knocked out. He’ll take five punches in the face to land one leg kick. He’s not going to stay on the outside and lose a point battle, so he’s going to come in and get hit with bombs and he’s going to go down. He’s not going to be able to hold. He takes 50 strikes a round. Ten significant strikes per minute, that’s 50 a round. He’s not going to hold up two or three rounds doing that shit with me. I promise you, I’m going to hit him with something clean and he’s going to go to sleep.”
Watch the 13-1 James Vick got toe to toe with the UFC’s #7 lightweight Justin Gaethje at UFC Fight Night 135 on August 25, 2018. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!