“I’ve been humbled – luckily not in front of a million people like the last fight was in front of, but I’ve been humbled in front of my friends and family on the regional scene twice,” he said of his two pro losses to Cesar Balmaceda and Nikolas Motta. “Neither time was I taking anything lightly. But that was at a time where maybe I had different aspirations. I saw (Conor) McGregor making tons of money and being in the public eye and was like, oh, that’s pretty cool, maybe that’s what I want one day.
“But real quick you learn what’s important. All the praise and anything that comes my way, I will appreciate and say thank you and I’ll never turn opportunities down, but I realize what it’s about for me and what it’s not, and that’s how I don’t play into it.”
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Yet while he’s not letting fame get to his head, he is also learning to enjoy life in the big show as he goes along, because he knows that none of this lasts forever, so you have to take it in as you go.
“I’m trying to become a better rose smeller,” Solecki laughs. “Stopping and seeing this stuff along the way. And I think there’s a good chance I’ll be like, ‘There’s Jim Miller standing across the cage. All right, we’ve done pretty good, let’s beat him now, let’s fight him.’ But I did the opposite with my amateur and early pro career and now I look back on it like, man, those were some good times.
“But all I was worried about was getting to the UFC and having the security of this being my full-time job. And now I look back on it like those were some of the best days ever. What a great time. Even the losses, coming back from a loss is a great time to really grow and you breeze through if you try to get somewhere. But now, I think that’s where being a dad and a husband has come into play, too. I’m trying to take these days, like wow, what a great day, what a great fight camp, what a great year, and not just, let me get to the top 10, let me get to a title shot, let me get to here, and the next thing you know, I’m retired. So I’m trying.”