“That feels like such a distant memory,” he said of his Contender Series submission of Jesse James Wallace. “I remember it vividly, but it doesn’t feel like it even happened. Even the fight in December doesn’t feel like it ever happened. In a lot of ways, this feels like I’m coming back to my first UFC fight because everything’s different.” 

It is. The world is in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, even hitting Solecki close to home when he was forced to withdraw from his initial meeting with Hubbard in June. It made him even hungrier for his return.

“I had to pull out of the last one, and sometimes it takes missing out on one to realize how much you really want to be in there,” he said. “It feels like a long time since I was and I’m just itching to fight.”

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That itch gets scratched in less than 24 hours, and it’s something unexplainable unless you’ve walked up those four steps into the Octagon. Solecki will give it a try, though.

“Each fight is a chance to grow as a human being and as a man,” he said. “Through adversity, through every single training camp, I’m getting tougher, I’m getting more mentally strong, I’m appreciating my family more, and my teammates and my coaches more. I’m growing as a human being, so during the entire process and build-up of a fight, I’m gonna become a more humble human being, a better human being, a harder working human being. And that’s the reward. On top of that, you go in there and get your win on fight night, there’s no other feeling like that. That’s a fleeting feeling, but it’s that pursuit. It’s unfortunate that a lot of people in the world will never know what that feels like to pursue something that’s changing you every single day as a person.”

Solecki knows. And he’s grateful.