James Vick is a rarity in MMA -- 9-1 in the UFC, but still struggling to break into the top ten.
Vick, ranked #11, has won four fights in a row in the UFC, not including his 3-1 run on The Ultimate Fighter when he was just a four fight pro veteran. On July 14 at UFC Boise, Vick takes on the popular fighter/broadcaster Paul Felder. When Vick spoke to Fightful.com's James Lynch, he wasn't convinced that a victory over Felder will actually move him any further up the rankings than he already is.
"(I'll) Probably (be) right back where I am now. 11, 10 -- 9 if I'm lucky. That was the problem I had agreeing to this fight. I just beat a guy, who beat this guy three fights ago. Trinaldo beat Felder three fights ago. Does this fight really do anything for my career? The only thing that's good is that he has a name through the commentary stuff and we get a co-main event spot. I would like to be ranked top 8. After this fight I'm 10-1 in the UFC, I shouldn't have to be fighting anyone less than #5 in the world, realistically," said Vick.
While surveying the landscape of the UFC, Vick compares his accomplishments to others who are presented with more opportunities.
"I'll have a better record in the UFC than Conor McGregor and Yoel Romero. One's a two-division world champion, the other's fought for two world titles. I understand I'm in the deepest division, I'm not delusional about that. Every guy in the division besides Khabib (Nurmagomedov) and Tony (Ferguson) -- I have a better record than. Justin Gaethje was 18-0 when he came over -- but that don't mean shit until you win some fights in the UFC. I'll be on a five fight winning streak like Gregor Gillespie, like David Teymur, but should I have to fight these guys? I have twice as many wins in the UFC as these guys. If they get ranked above me, I'll gladly fight these guys," said Vick
After several big wins, Vick expects a top-10 opponent with a win over Felder. When he looks at the career paths of other fighters with what he considered lesser resumes, Vick has questioned even changing career paths.
"Come on man, how many guys below me do I have to fight? It's a f--ckin' joke. If they ask me to fight someone ranked below me again, I'll probably just move up. Why the f--- am I cutting all this weight if I'm not going to get a career advancement? Especially when I see guys like Cowboy Oliveira and Yancy Medeiros who had not bad records, but like .500 records at lightweight and move up and get ranked in the top 15?," said Vick.
In the full interview, James Vick (13-1) discusses his upcoming fight against Paul Felder (15-3) at UFC Fight Night 133 on July 14.