UFC San Antonio: James Vick Gunning for Finish, but Ready for War

James Vick knows fighters who get in too many wars have short careers, so his goal is a quick finish at UFC San Antonio.

San Antonio, TX — Last time out at UFC on ESPN 1, James Vick found himself on the losing end of a decision against Paul Felder. The loss put him on the first losing streak of his career: two straight losses under the UFC banner.

Heading into UFC San Antonio — a.k.a. UFC on ESPN 4 — this weekend, Vick (13-3) knows that’s not where he wants to be. “The last time I lost two fights in a row was back in 2008 in amateur boxing. It’s not good,” he admitted at Wednesday’s open workouts, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. Then again, Vick doesn’t feel like he necessarily should have lost the Felder bout. “To be honest with you, I thought I could have won that last fight. It was a super close fight, he got the decision, I’m not going to complain about it, because it could have went either way. So congrats to him for getting it.”

Vick doesn’t think that way, doesn’t dwell on or make excuses for losses, he said after, because “I have a warrior’s mentality.”

“I’ve won the majority of the fights I’ve ever had. I’m fighting guys that have literally been training ten years longer than me,” he pointed out. “Some of these guys have been training since they were ten years old, I didn’t even start training until I was twenty, in boxing. I didn’t start grappling until I was twenty-two. Had multiple major surgeries and worked a full-time job half the time I was in the UFC.” And while it’s not uncommon for fighters to take jobs on the side, keep in mind the heights Vick has hit. “So I’m winning, and I’m going to keep winning. I don’t have a loser’s mentality, that sh*t ain’t for me.”

There’s been questions about the weight cut down to 155lbs, as Vick is a towering figure for the lightweight division. At 6″3 he has the height of a heavyweight. But the weight cut, he said, isn’t effecting him at all in his opinion. “Last cut I probably had the best cut I’ve had in five years. I followed George [Lockhart]’s program, I did everything he said, I made the weight in two sauna sessions, one bath, and made weight.”

He admits, however, that food is a weakness. A vice he’s not willing to give up, with all others gone. “It’s just a matter of being more disciplined. It’s hard, I’ve given everything else up in my life. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t party. I haven’t done any of that stuff in years. I haven’t drank alcohol in two and a half years. When I used to drink it would be like twice a year even then.”

“Food’s the only thing I have left. It’s really sugar that’s the problem,” he said. “I can eat healthy clean food, but then want sugar on top of it. I just got to focus on being disciplined.”

At UFC San Antonio, Vick will face a dangerous opponent in Dan Hooker. The New Zealand native is coming off a loss to Edson Barboza that saw him show incredible heart before finally going down to a body shot. Prior to that, Hooker had been on a four-fight winning streak.”

“I’m taking Dan Hooker very seriously, it’s not a game to me, and I know it’s not to him either,” Vick told reporters.

“This is exciting, obviously I’m looking for a quick finish. A war is fun or whatever, but people who have wars have short careers,” he added. “My goal is to finish. But I’m ready for war, and I’m mentally prepared. I know he’s not an easy dude to finish, I know that, I’m not delusional. So it could be a war, and I’m ready for that.”

If it is, at least it’s a war in his own back yard. “I love it. I love fighting in Texas, I love fighting at home,” said Vick Wednesday. While other fighters complain of the pressures of fighting at home, it’s a feeling Vick doesn’t understand. “I felt no pressure.”

Finally, you can quit chirping at him online. Despite his recent struggles, “I still have one of the best records in the UFC (9-3 in the promotion), and my career is far from over. These people are delusional, these trolls on social media, talking sh*t, they’re delusional.” He reiterated, again, what a late start he got in the sport. “I started this game ten years later than some of these people. My last fight, Felder’s literally been training ten years longer than me. [Justin] Gaethje too, Gaethje’s been training for ten of fifteen years longer than me, been wrestling since he was five. I didn’t start training until late in life, I’ve been catching all these guys, it’s just a matter of time.”

James Vick fights Dan Hooker this Saturday, July 20 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX, part of UFC on ESPN 4.