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James
Vick
will take on former
World Series of Fighting
champion Justin
Gaethje
in the
UFC Fight Night 135
main event on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank
Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. There, “The Texecutioner” looks to
extend his current winning streak to five fights and in doing so
solidify himself as a legitimate title contender in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
’s lightweight division.

Ahead of Vick’s anticipated clash with Gaethje, here are five
things you might not know about him:

1. He was a late arrival in combat
sports.

The 6-foot-3 Vick played basketball at school, and while he had no
formal martial arts training during his formative years, his
pugilistic nature was apparent at a young age. He admits he engaged
in plenty of fights while growing up. Vick started boxing at the
age of 20 and two years later shifted gears to mixed martial arts.
He made his professional debut in 2011 after just two years of
training and submitted Cody
Carrillo
with a rear-naked choke at an Undisputed MMA event in
Amarillo, Texas.

2. He was something of a vagabond in the labor
force.

Prior to becoming a full-time athlete, Vick worked at three oil
fields. He has stated in interviews that he quit one job in order
to have more time to devote to MMA. To earn a living on his way up
the full-contact-fighting ladder, Vick accepted a position at
Target, where the hours offered him more flexibility when it came
to training. He has also worked as a bouncer and a waiter.

3. He has a lot of hobbies.

Vick is an avid outdoorsman who likes to cycle and fish, but
hunting remains his favorite pastime. He often posts photographs of
his hunting trips online, with his preferred quarry being feral
hogs. When Vick is not training or indulging in the aforementioned
outdoor activities, he enjoys watching boxing and spending time
with his son.

4. He competed on Season 15 of “The Ultimate
Fighter.”

Vick was one of 32 lightweights invited to compete on the reality
show in 2012. He defeated Dakota
Cochrane
in qualifying and was selected by Team Cruz. Vick
faced Daron
Cruickshank
in the preliminary round, and the situation did not
go according to plan at the start. However, “The Texecutioner”
countered a Cruickshank takedown attempt with a crushing knee
strike that knocked the taekwondo black belt cold. In the
quarterfinals, Vick defended takedowns and employed his burgeoning
standup skills in posting a unanimous decision over Joe Proctor.
His run ended in the semifinals, where he succumbed to second-round
punches from eventual Season 15 winner Michael
Chiesa
.

5. He stays busy on social media.

Vick tweets on a near daily basis, the composition of his posts
covering everything from inspirational quotes to commentary on
other UFC fights and professional boxing matches. He also provides
updates on his recreational activities and training. Vick recently
included details about his preparation for the forthcoming showdown
with Gaethje and also creates MMA training videos that he posts on
YouTube. He does not shy away from trying to get under his rivals’
skin. Vick in February tweeted a picture that had the faces of
current UFC lightweights superimposed on the bodies of feral hogs.
The accompanying caption asked, “Which pig should I go after?”


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