James Vick: Welterweight move 'messing with me mentally' ahead of UFC on ESPN+ 19

TAMPA, Fla. – James Vick is offering nothing but honest perspective going into a pivotal moment in his career on Saturday at UFC on ESPN+ 19.

On one side, Vick’s matchup with Niko Price (13-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) is something of a fresh start. Vick (13-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) is moving up to the UFC welterweight division for the first time, but the reason he made the move is because of three consecutive losses at lightweight.

Dropping four fights in a row is a deep hole to get out of, and that’s why Vick can’t allow himself to look past the next fight.

“So much is riding on this fight,” Vick told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “I’m not delusional. I’ve lost three fights in a row. I lose this fight, I might not be in the UFC no more. I’m not delusional like that. Everything is riding on this fight Saturday night.”

Vick said the decision to change weight classes wasn’t so much about the difficulty cutting to 155 pounds, but the fact he dropped consecutive fights to Justin Gaethje, Paul Felder and Dan Hooker. He fell out of the rankings after that slump, and he said if he’s going to work his way back in, it might as well be in a division in which he’s more comfortable.

The shift to welterweight hasn’t been as smooth as Vick envisioned, though. He said camp didn’t look all that different than previous ones, and the fact he wasn’t pushing himself to the extreme in every facet is playing mind tricks on him.

“It feels weird because I feel like I’m not sacrificing as much,” Vick said. “It’s kind of messing with me mentally. I don’t feel like I’m going to be undersized or small or anything, but I feel like cutting the weight is part of the sacrifice. I didn’t even start my diet until about two weeks ago.”

Regardless, Vick said he is expecting a win at UFC on ESPN+ 19, which takes place at Amalie Arena and streams on ESPN+. He likes how he matches up with Price and said so long as he fights intelligently, he will emerge triumphant.

“If I keep my hands up and my chin down and don’t get caught with a big shot, I’m going to win this fight,” Vick said. “I think I can beat this guy pretty easily on the feet. I think I can outpoint him all day or catch him and knock him out.”

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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