Las Vegas, NV — For a guy nicknamed “From Hell,” Vinc Pichel was rather upbeat following UFC 252.
It’s understandable. Pichel picked up a win over Jim Miller as part of the featured preliminary bout on Saturday. Surviving any number of submission scares, Pichel (13-2) took home a unanimous decision, a win he knows is the biggest of his career to date.
“Best win of my career. Jim Miller is a veteran, he’s been fighting in the UFC since I was fighting as an amateur,” Pichel said following the bout. “To fight him and dominate him is amazing, nothing but amazingness.”
Pichel credited Miller, the UFC’s most active fighter, as a “very tough, very durable guy. I don’t want to say I was expecting to finish him, but at some point I was like ‘damn, how much can this guy take?’ He’s just a tough, tough dude.”
Late in the fight, Miller was seconds away from what seemed like a Hail Mary comeback. He had a guillotine choke sunk in. Pichel admitted that yes, it was close.
“At first it wasn’t too bad, because I had his head up against the cage and he didn’t really have the squeeze,” he explained. “But once he adjusted, he was squeezing me, if I didn’t get my head out, another few seconds, I probably would have had to tap, if I’m honest. He probably would have got me.”
UFC 252 was Pichel’s first bout of the pandemic era. Despite a lengthy run with the UFC dating back to 2012, injuries have piled up over the years. But as an Ultimate Fighter alum, the lack of a crowd didn’t faze him.
“I didn’t even really notice. Not that I don’t love having the angry roar in the crowd or the war cries. I absolutely love it and it does play into my energy sometimes,” said Pichel. “But I grew up fighting, I grew up fighting on the streets where it’s quiet. I was on The Ultimate Fighter, there’s no one in there besides your guys coaching. I actually told my coaches to be quiet in the corner too, because I wanted it to be absolutely quiet as possible so I could kind of hear myself think and go through the motions of the fight.”
Pichel is coached by Dominick Cruz, who pulls double duty as a UFC analyst. But unlike some fighters who have said they’ve overheard the UFC’s broadcast crew, Pichael admitted he didn’t get to hear his coach.
As comfortable as he is with the silent arena, however, Pichel doesn’t really want it to stick around. “If this is the new normal I’m not happy with it. I definitely want things to go back to normal. But I’m embracing it for now.”
Watch the full UFC 252 post-fight press conference with Vinc Pichel above.