James Vick wants to get a number next to his name.
The 30-year-old lightweight is looking to get his name in the 155-pound rankings of the UFC, but he’s having a tough time finding a dance partner that can get him there. Vick is 12-1 in his professional MMA career and he’s coming off an impressive second-round technical knockout win over Joseph Duffy at last week’s UFC 217 in New York City. The victory over the Irishman improved Vick’s win streak to three in a row and his overall UFC record to 8-1.
Having a solid resume in the UFC, Vick finds it “ridiculous” that he’s unable to land a fight with a ranked fighter, and believes the guys in the rankings are purposely avoiding a fight with him.
“This is ridiculous,” Vick told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “These guys know exactly who the f*ck I am. I feel like a douchebag just saying my record over and over again, ‘oh, I’m 8-1, I’m 8-1,’ but how many of these guys are 8-1? I literally have a better record than 90 percent of the UFC, so they know exactly who the f*ck I am and they’re acting like they don’t.
“I understand, I’m not delusional. I’m in the deepest weight class of the UFC and I understand that I’m the high-risk, low-reward situation right now. I’m the highest risk they can take because I’m going to whoop them all. Of course, they’re taking a huge risk in fighting me, but my name isn’t quite big enough yet. I’m not saying they’re avoiding me necessarily because they’re scared, but they are afraid of losing their spot. They’re not afraid of me, James Vick, but they’re afraid of what losing to me would do to their career.”
Vick told reporters at UFC 217 following his big win over Duffy that he wanted to get a fight with the winner of Anthony Pettis vs. Dustin Poirier. However, just a couple of days later on The MMA Hour, Vick didn’t seem too enthusiastic about the idea, telling Helwani that de doesn’t think either man would take a fight with him.
“I do (want the fight), but I don’t think those guys are going to fight me,” Vick explained. “I just watched the countdown show and Poirier is talking about, if he beats Pettis, he might get a title shot. I get his logic and I’m not hating on any of these guys. There is a big enough pie for everyone, I just want my piece. I get his logic that he realistically just beat Eddie Alvarez and he should be getting a title fight because of that. That’s his logic, but to beat Anthony Pettis, a dude who’s lost four out of his last five or six fights, to me it’s a complete joke.”
Apart from being frustrated having a difficult time finding ranked opposition, Vick is also not too happy with the way fighters are ranked in the UFC. The Team Lloyd Irvin product believes much of the rankings are based on name value rather than actual records and fighting stats. Vick cites examples in former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje, who’s had only one UFC bout — a win over Michael Johnson — but is ranked No. 5, and former UFC champion Pettis, who is 1-3 in his past four lightweight bouts but finds himself ranked at No. 13.
“They ranked me 15 in the world at one point for a week, and then Justin Gaethje comes in and beats a dude who lost four out of his last five fights, has one win in the UFC, Justin Gaethje only has one win in the UFC.
“And by the way, Justin Gaethje was talking sh*t to me on Twitter, so I’m going to go off on him a little bit too. Before I got on the mic (following his win at UFC 217), Gaethje was talking about, ‘oh, this guy is about to get on the mic and say how everybody is ducking him, how everybody is afraid of him.’ Well, what, you want me to lie? I mean, you’re taking all that sh*t, but you ain’t saying nothing when I was calling you out on fight night (The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale).
“I went right up to Sean Shelby, me and Poirier, and said we want to fight Gaethje and then two days later, the UFC sits him next to me. Now, I’m not going to start any drama because I’m on their good side and they’re starting to fly me places, so I’m not trying to start any drama, but then you beat one guy in the UFC and every guy you fought outside of the UFC wouldn’t even be ranked in the top f*cking 40. Those guys wouldn’t even be ranked in the top-40 and he’s acting like a he’s the baddest fighter in the world, what a f*cking joke.
“So he’s talking all that sh*t, then fight me. Well, of course he’s going to say, ‘I’m not worthy to fight him,’ when I got seven more UFC wins than he has. And the combined record of the guys he fought outside of the UFC is probably not pretty good. I haven’t looked them all up, but I know those guys wouldn’t be top contenders in the UFC.
“And with Pettis, how they ranked him, he beat Jim Miller — who was ranked 10 spots below me — but because he’s a former world champion, they ranked him 13 in the world when he’s lost four of his last six fights. So out with the old and in with the new. I understand you’re a former world champion. I understand this is a business, but in my mind I’m a world champion and I’m performing like a world champion. I beat Joe Duffy and he’s 16-2, that’s a phenomenal record. He hadn’t been knocked out by anyone and I knocked him out.”
Not many were safe from Vick’s rant over the ranking system in the UFC. “The Texecutioner” also took a shot at interim champ Tony Ferguson, who many consider to be the best lightweight on the planet.
“You got Tony Ferguson, and in my mind, I’d whoop his ass,” Vick said. “I look at our competition with Abel Trujillo and I smoked him twice as easy as he did. I mean, Abel Trujillo took him (Ferguson) down three times and dropped him twice, so to say that I’m not worthy in skill-level-wise... their whole saving grace where they don’t have to fight me is because I got a top-10 fight and I lost (against Beneil Dariush at UFC 199). Well, first of all, most of these guys got multiple top-10 opportunities or they lose and they get grandfathered in (the rankings) because they have names and they stay there. It really is a joke.”
Now on a three-fight win streak that includes a stoppage over Duffy, The Ultimate Fighter 15 contestant believes that now is the time for him to get booked against someone in the rankings.
“It’s time for me to get another chance,” Vick said. “God forbid I get another chance and I blow it, then I’ll go to the back to the ladder and I’ll win two or three more fights and then come back and say something after that. It’s time for me to get another chance. This is a joke, man.”