The UFC’s #12 lightweight James Vick has successfully finished his past 3 victims, and now looks to make it 4 straight as “The Texecutioner” shoots the fair one with Francisco Trinaldo, at UFC Fight Night 126 on February 18, 2018 (Sunday). Vick sports an 8-1 record inside of the promotion and has recently found himself residing in the Top-15 at 155 pounds. With the state of Texas on his back, Vick hopes to dispatch his ranked opposition, and position himself for a big name fight against a higher ranking opponent. Before putting on for The Lone Star State, Vick caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss his passion for hog hunting, consecutive snubs for Performance of the Night bonuses, and to snap on specific high ranking lightweights who he feels are ducking him.
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- I saw your social media post of a giant hog that you recently hunted:
“I’m always hog hunting when I’m in Texas. I actually haven’t been in a while; that was one of my older ones that I put out. I started the camp right after Christmas, literally the day after Christmas I left town, and about a week and half before Christmas I got two big boys. One of them was about 300 pounds; the other one was like, probably 240. I love hog hunting. It’s one of my favorite things to do.”
- Is this trophy hunting or do you actually eat the hogs?
“Oh for sure, I got a freezer full, right now, of hog meat, dear meat, and duck meat. I shot a couple deer this year, and several ducks. The thing I love about hogs, my favorite thing is there’s no season. They’re pest animals and they reproduce like cockroaches, so you can kill 50 of them a day if you want. You can literally kill as many as you can get. They just reproduce so fast. In Texas, the population is so big, it’s getting out of hand, to the point they basically have to kill 70% of all the hogs every year just to maintain the population the way it is.”
- Is there a bounty on the hogs at all?
“It’s getting to a point now where they were trying to pass a bill, which a lot of hunters were like, ‘no way,’ and everyone should not want this, but they’re trying to pass a bill where they poison them because they’re so bad. The problem with that is, every other animal is going to get poisoned. You’re going to have people’s dogs, potentially maybe people’s children gets poisoned doing that, water supplies or whatever.”
- Why are the hogs such a problem?
“I don’t think people understand how big of a problem they really are and how much stuff they destroy, and how fast they can reproduce. A hog can have up to 2 litters a year, and that’s up to 12 piglets per litter. You could have 24 new hogs every year from 1, and then usually after like 6 to 8 months they can already start breeding, after only being 6 to 8 months old. It’s just crazy the amount of hogs there is. It’s an endless supply.”
- The last time you went hunting in the Octagon, you knocked out Joseph Duffy at UFC 217 this past November. How did it feel to wake up on Monday with a ‘#12’ next to your name?
“It felt good; I’m not going to lie. It felt good. I felt like it was a long time coming. I try not to complain because I did get a Top-10 opponent before and I blew it; you know, I lost. I’ve also beaten, and have a better record than most of the guys in the Top-15, pretty much all of them. I’m the only guy with the record I have that’s not ranked in the Top-10. The only guy that has a better winning UFC record than me is Khabib, because he’s never lost. I won eight fights in the UFC, pretty handily most of them, against good competition. Like I said about Joe Duffy, I think he could beat several, half the guys in the Top-15 too. He’s just not getting that opportunity either, and they want all of us killers on the outside to fight each other, so it’s good to get ranked as high as I have.”
- Stopping Duffy in the 2nd round marked your 3rd straight finish in the UFC, but unfortunately your 3rd straight Performance of the Night snub. What more do you have to do to get that bonus money?
“I don’t know, man. It’s f—king bullsh-t. This politics stuff is ridiculous, dude. I’m just done with it. I’m not even talking about it anymore. I’m tired of calling these f—king guys out and them not wanting to fight me. That’s not the UFC’s fault, I mean they can’t put a gun to these guys’ head and force them to fight me. At the same time, yeah it’s bullsh-t. I’ve highlight reeled three people in a row and haven’t gotten sh-t for it. It’s a f—king joke, it really is. The favoritism and the way sh-t gets done, you know, what can you do? I’m not going to complain anymore. I got a descent deal right now, it could be better and it will be better, but I’m making good money. I should have gotten a f—king bonus at least one or two times in my last three fights. I mean I highlight reeled two of those people in my home state, and haven’t gotten sh-t for it. Whatever; it’s all good.”
- Now you’re set for a home game in Texas, taking on the #14 Francisco Trinaldo on February 18, 2018. Are you happy that your opponent is in the Top-15 or are you bummed that you’re ranked higher than him?
“Well, initially when this fight was signed, I wasn’t ranked higher than he is. They redid the rankings; I was ranked 1 below him. I was ranked 15th or something and he was ranked 14th. I don’t understand how f—king Anthony Pettis is still even ranked. This is a f—king joke, man. Then, [Michael] Chiesa turns down a fight with me because I’m not ranked high enough, but then he turns around and fights Pettis, in the works of fighting Pettis who’s ranked way below me, or one or two spots below me, and has won f—king two of his last seven fights. Somehow the dude is still ranked; it really is a f—king joke. It’s the politics again or whatever. Yeah, Trinaldo is tough, man. The dude can fight. Anybody who wins seven fights in a row in the UFC is not a game.”
- Historically, Trinaldo has stumbled against solid grapplers. Your sub skills are quite underrated and you’ve proven you can wreck foes on the feet, so what is your path of least resistance here?
“I’m a striker, man. I try to strike with all my guys. Half my wins are by submission because these guys try to take me down and get caught. Yeah, I don’t think Trinaldo’s ground game is better than mine, and they talk about how strong he is and everything, but I think he has serious gas tank issues. What’s going to happen is I’m going to be outpointing him, or I’m just going to catch him with something and knock him out, but I’m going to be wining and he’s going to try and wrestle. He’s going to try and put me on the cage and everything, and if he does, it’s going to gas him out. There’s no way that he can deal with my gas tank and my volume and my movement, and he has a history of gassing out in fights. I think that’s going to be his downfall. He is one of those guys that even when he gasses out he’s able to suck it up a little bit, and he does pull out victories; I will give him that.”
- What’s your official prediction for UFC Fight Night 126?
“I think I’m going to win by knockout. I think I’m going to knock him out. I think I’m going to finish him, and I know he’s not easy to finish. I know he don’t get finished and he don’t get knocked out, but Joe Duffy didn’t get finished or knocked out either. I was the 1st person in 16 fights to knock him out. I think that I’m going to be too long for him and he’s going to try and wrestle, and when he tries to wrestle, it’s going to gas him out, and when he does, I’m going to open up on him and hit him with something.”
Watch James Vick clock in with Francisco Trinaldo at UFC Fight Night 126 on February 18, 2018 (Sunday). Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!