James Vick will finally get his chance to shine in a UFC main event later tonight (Sat., Aug. 25, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 135 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, when he takes on hard-nosed lightweight contender Justin Gaethje.
It wasn’t easy for “Texcecutioner” to get to this point. He needed a four-fight win streak and a 9-1 overall UFC record to lock down a headlining act. The time has come, but Vick must now perform and prove he’s capable of shouldering the load of an entire event.
Defeating a fighter as game as Gaethje is going to be tough enough, let alone after a grueling weight cut. Vick is one of the bigger lightweights on the roster and needed to drop significant weight leading up to this fight.
Whether or not that plays a role in his performance has yet to be seen.
“It sucks – it’s never good,” Vick told reporters earlier this week following a weight-cut session (h/t MMAjunkie). “But it’s not any worse or better than usual. It’s basically the same as always.”
While Vick eventually made weight for his main event clash with Gaethje this evening at UFC Fight Night 135, it wasn’t easy. Vick is aware that he could be doing more outside of the cage to limit his struggles to cut down before a fight, but he hasn’t been able to make the proper adjustments.
“Honestly, at lot of my stuff comes from my diet,” said Vick. “I have a bad diet. I’m not quite as big as people think I am. I’m very tall, but my bone structure is very small.
“I just eat a lot of sugar. I’m a sugar addict. It’s a problem. If I cut down on that, I’d probably walk around 10, 15 pounds lighter than I actually do.”
As a 6’3” lightweight who often uses his length and range to pick opponents apart, Vick may actually be better equipped to compete at the welterweight level. That is if he starts noticing a deep in production at lightweight following less-than-desirable weight cuts.
Moving up to 170 pounds is something Vick has already thought about. He just wants to take care of business at lightweight before he pulls the trigger on a career change.
“My goal is to become a world champion, defend it a few times, and then move up,” he said. “If I move up right now, I’ve got to start at Ground Zero.”
If Vick is able to defeat Gaethje in fashion later this evening he may very well propel himself into the division’s top 5. It’s been a long time coming but the former Ultimate Fighter standout finally seems to be hitting his stride.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 135 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” undercard bout at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the FOX Sports 2 “Prelims” undercard bouts at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.