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UFC 217 interview - James Vick on UFC’s ranked 155’ers: ‘They act like they don’t know who I am’

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UFC 217 lightweight James Vick spoke with Bloody Elbow about his pending bout with Joe Duffy, what it’ll take to get ranked, and goes in on Top-15 lightweights for ignoring his call outs.

Surging UFC lightweight James Vick has racked up back-to-back finishes, and is in search of his 3rd consecutive UFC victory as he faces Joseph Duffy at UFC 217 on November 4, 2017. Before making the journey to the Big Apple, Vick caught up with Bloody Elbow to recap his 1st round finish at UFC 211, discuss some Duffy details, and then he goes off on the UFC ‘s ranked lightweights for acting like they don’t know who he is. Saturday’s UFC 217 main card will air live on Pay-Per-View at 10:00 P.M. ET with the prelims starting at 8:00 P.M. ET on FX. The Exclusive Fight Pass prelims will begin at 6:30 P.M. ET.

“It pretty much went as expected. I expected to finish the guy. I didn’t really get hit. That shocked me. I didn’t even remember taking 1 punch the whole fight. I took like 2 or 3 little leg kicks, nothing serious, and it was a really good experience. Best experience pretty much I’ve ever had, just because it was 30 minutes from my home, I took no damage, back in the gym 2 days later, and it was just a great victory.”

  • Would you say it was a lot easier than you expected?

“I expected to win. I expected a finish within the first 2 rounds. I didn’t know it was going to be the first 2 minutes and no damage, but I’ll take it how I can get it.”

  • Were you surprised you didn’t earn a Performance of the Night bonus?

“Oh yeah, I was livid. I was pretty pissed about that. I talked with Dana White about it after and he threw me a little bit of a bonus. He told me he was going to take care of me. It was decent, but it wasn’t no $50k, but it was decent.”

  • Do you think it should have been ruled a one-punch knockout?

“Yeah, it could have been. Obviously I’m not going to give the guy a chance to recover. In my mind, I’ve been ripped off of 3 bonuses now in the UFC. I highlight reel’d Abel Trujillo in my home state also, flying knee to a D’arce choke finish. Didn’t get a bonus there. Then, my UFC debut against Ramsey Nijem, I submitted dude in 58 seconds, didn’t take a punch, didn’t even throw a punch and won. In my mind, I’ve already been robbed out of 3 bonuses, which is pretty annoying, and would have changed my life. But, no use crying over spilled milk now. Time to try and go get another one.”

  • You got on the mic at UFC 211 and called for a Top-15 fight, and here you are facing Joseph Duffy at UFC 217. Are you happy with the matchup?

“I mean, it’s not a Top-15 guy. I win this then what’s next? Do I still have to keep fighting Joe Duffys? I mean Joe Duffy is basically good enough to be in the Top-15 also, but he’s not ranked so it’s not helping me a lot. Dudes don’t want to fight me. These dudes don’t want to take fights with me. That’s pretty much what it is and I know that for a fact. Sean Shelby’s told me a couple guys that have already turned down fights with me.”

  • The top of the lightweight division acting like they don’t know who you are:

“I’ve been trolling these guys on Twitter, just going hard at them, and half of them don’t even respond. They act like they don’t know who I am. I’m 7-1 in the UFC and after I win this fight I’ll be 8-1. My record is better than most of theirs. That’s one of the best records in the entire organization. So, I’m going to have an 8-1 record and not even be ranked in the Top-15? That just don’t make any damn sense. Now, obviously I understand that I’m in the deepest division, but still, 8-1? That’s literally one of the best records in the entire UFC.”

  • Being ‘grandfathered’ into the UFC rankings:

“It’s like these top guys, once they get into the Top-10, they’re like grandfathered in. They can lose 2 or 3 times and still be in play like that. It don’t make no damn sense, but I lose 1 fight. My whole career has been in the UFC; I’ve grown up in the UFC. I only had 4 pro fights when I got on The Ultimate Fighter, and I had only been pro for 8 months. So, I lose 1 fight and then I’m not worthy of getting another Top-10 opponent when after next weekend I’m going to win 8 fights? They got to step up and fight me; it’s a joke”

  • UFC Politics:

Tony Ferguson did all of that, won all of those fights to finally get an interim title shot, and Kevin Lee beats 1 Top-10 guy and gets a title shot, and he has more losses than I have in the UFC.”

  • Now, you’re headed to New York City to face Joe Duffy at UFC 217 in the storied Madison Square Garden venue. After the fight, will you get it in with the Big Apple street cuisine?

“Yeah, we’re going to try some of that and definitely eat some pizza, ya know? For sure!”

  • You and Duffy tend to have opponents that end up shooting the takedown; who will be the first person to shoot in this matchup?

“Oh it’s going to be him. If somebody shoots, it’s going to be him. Basically, they asked for this fight because they think he’s a better boxer than me, and they know I’ll stand with him. Well, you’re right; I will. I will stand with you and I’m going to win that battle. If anybody has a gameplan of trying to sneak in a takedown, it’s going to end up being him.”

  • I spoke with you before the Polo Reyes fight and you predicted a finish in under 2 rounds, which ended up coming true. What’s your official prediction for this one?

“I mean, I’m not delusional. Joe Duffy is a higher caliber opponent than Polo Reyes. Once again, no disrespect to him, but he’s more rounded. He’s probably a little bit better boxer than Polo Reyes. He’s a better boxer, but he don’t have the power Polo Reyes had... I plan on finishing him. I plan on finishing within the distance, within the 3 rounds, but we’ll see how it goes.”

  • Does James Vick have plans to rock the mic at UFC 217?

“I already got big plans for the mic afterwards. I got big plans for that. I can’t really disclose that. Basically, I’m just going to say the truth. Who do y’all want me to fight, because I’ve called them all out. What, do you want me to get on the mic and say oh I want to fight Dustin Poirier, I want to fight Justin Gaethje, I want to fight Eddie Alvarez? I’ve been trolling them all on Twitter for months now. They won’t even respond to me.”

“I’ve called out Evan Dunham. I trolled that guy so hard, he wouldn’t even acknowledge me until it got to a point. Then he’s acting like he’s too good or too high up to fight me when his last fight was a UFC debut guy before his recent fight. Then he was scheduled to fight Abel Trujillo, who in his mind is a higher caliber opponent than me. I go smoke Abel Trujillo on a 2 week opponent change, and then all of the sudden Abel’s good enough but I’m not good enough.”

  • Going off on the UFC’s ranked lightweights for unanswered call outs:

“Over the last few months, I’ve called out Gaethje, I’ve called out Anthony Pettis, I’ve called out Dustin Poirier, I’ve called out Eddie Alvarez, I’ve called out Evan Dunham. These trolls won’t even answer. They won’t even reply. They act like they don’t know who the fuck I am; they know who the fuck I am! They know exactly who I am. I guess I could get in there and say a direct name, but I’m pretty much just going to say that. I’ve called all of these clowns out. None of them want to fight me. They’re scared of me.”

  • What will it take for you to get ranked?

“The only way I’m getting ranked is if the UFC just decides that I’ve won enough fights to rank me. Then, maybe one of them will take a chance to fight me. The UFC did rank me for like a week. They ranked me at number 15 for like a week, and then Justin Gaethje and Anthony Pettis won, and they moved me out of the rankings and put them in. Which Gaethje, that’s cool. Understandable. He beat the #6 ranked guy, but Pettis beat a 40 year old Jim Miller and you rank the dude, basically just because he’s a former world champion. That’s the only reason. Then I call him out and he wouldn’t even reply. Acting like they don’t know who the fuck. They know exactly who I am. When I see them at events, they look at me like, ‘how the fuck does this guy make the weight class?’ I can just see the fucking fear in their eyes. I’m at the point in my career, I’m high risk/low reward.”

“I don’t know, man. I guess I’m going to have to probably go with Bisping just because GSP is a little smaller. I think GSP is going to be able to take Bisping down a couple times, but 4 years is a long time off.”

  • So, your head is going with Bisping on this one?

“Probably. If I had to bet my money, then yeah.”

Watch James Vick throw down with Joseph Duffy at UFC 217 on November 4, 2017. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!