It only took 38 seconds for Jimmy “The Brick” Flick to go from an underdog to a champion with a shot at a life-changing contract.
Entering the evening of July 23, Flick was a 13-5 pro fighter coming up through the regional ranks with a goal of making the UFC flyweight roster. The Oklahoma native was fresh off a title win via a first-round submission in Freestyle Cage Fighting. He was on deck for a crack at the vacant Legacy Fighting Alliance flyweight title fight. It is fairly common knowledge that an LFA title puts a fighter on the short list for a variety of UFC opportunities.
On July 24, Flick and his opponent, Greg Fischer, served as the LFA 86 main event. Flick was the +150 underdog to Fischer, who only had one loss on his record. As soon as the fight started, Flick went in for a double-leg takedown. He was successful in putting Fischer on the mat, and before he knew it, the choke was in and the fight was over.
“It was a great fight,” Flick told Combat Press. “I was more than ready for the fight. I had a hard training camp. I was more than confident going into the fight. I was able to get the fight where I wanted it. I [saw] the opportunity for a submission, I jumped for it, and it worked out great in my favor.
“I never expect it to end that quickly, but it was amazing, man. I [saw] the head and arm, and I was going to hit it from my back. Greg Fischer went to roll out, and when he rolled out, he put me on the right side, where I needed to be. I got that head-and-arm choke in 38 seconds.”
Shortly after his victory, Flick received a call that he was getting a shot at a UFC contract, by way of Dana White’s Contender Series, which takes place every Tuesday night during the summer months.
“After the fight, we knew to stay ready,” Flick said. “I’m guessing JP Buys had some visa issues. Ten days after my fight, I got the call and was asked if I was interested in taking on Nate Smith for the Tuesday Night Contender on September 1.
“I was actually back in the gym on that Monday, running sprints with the team. A few days later, I had a tooth that was broken, and I had to have it pulled. So, the tooth kept me out for only three days. Then, I was back in the gym again, and that’s when I got the call.”
Buys, who is also coming off an LFA win in November, was twice scheduled to face Smith in the Contender Series. However, a month out from the latest booking, he had to withdraw, opening the way for Flick.
Smith, another LFA veteran, is currently undefeated as a professional. He has won all six of his fights since his pro debut in September 2017. Three of his last four wins came by way of a first-round rear-naked choke, and his last fight, at LFA 82 in February, ended in a TKO from back mount.
“He’s a great wrestler,” admitted Flick. “He trains at a really good gym — Team Elevation. He was a Junior Olympic Greco freestyle wrestler. He’s well rounded, and his best aspect, I think, is his cardio.
“I think it’s another great match-up. I don’t think he’s fought the caliber of opponents I’ve fought. Coming off a quick win over Greg Fischer, there was no reason for me not to take the fight.”
Smith trains in Colorado at a higher elevation than Flick is accustomed to in Oklahoma. Las Vegas sits at about 2,000 feet above sea level. Flick is coming up in elevation, whereas Smith is coming down.
“I got me a training mask,” Flick explained. “I got the little Bas Rutten mouthpiece thing that he has to help with altitude.
“I brought in some high-class wrestlers. Cody Karstetter is a college wrestler, and he’s pretty close to my weight. Jarrod Patterson was a Big-12 champion and had a really good record in college wrestling. He even beat me a few times when we were in elementary, and was like a five- or six-time state champion as a kid. He walks around at 135 or 140 [pounds]. I also worked with Kyle Wang.
“They came in and pushed me hard with the wrestling, and we stayed on our grind with our Muay Thai and our jiu-jitsu. We’re keeping our cardio up-to-date, and we’re out here in Vegas and ready to do this thing.”
Flick is a passionate young fighter, as was apparent after his last win, when he started screaming for UFC President Dana White’s attention. He is confident in his skills and excited to finally get a shot at the big show.
“It feels amazing,” Flick said. “The UFC is taking great care of us. They have everything set up great for COVID. I’ve got my own training room and my own room. My coach has got his own room. My other cornerman is going to have his. It’s the VIP treatment for sure, man. They take great care of us, and I can’t wait to be on that UFC roster.”
Flick is only 29 years old, but he has a lot of experience going into Tuesday’s fight at the Contender Series, which airs live on ESPN+. He has rarely been to a decision, showing he definitely lives and dies by the sword. He knows how to finish fights quickly, and that will be his goal as he sets his sights on the next level of his career.