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Joe Solecki prepares to fight Carl Deaton in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 25, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Joe Solecki: “This Is The Kind Of Test I Want”

Solecki Faces Drakkar Klose Inside The Moody Center In Austin, Texas At UFC Fight Night: Dariush vs Tsarukyan

Joe Solecki is happy about where he is at in his UFC career. Posting a record of 5-1 inside the Octagon, the 30-year-old is on a two-fight win streak heading into his bout against Drakkar Klose at UFC Fight Night: Dariush vs Tsarukyan in Austin this Saturday. Last time out against Carl Deaton, he earned a submission victory and a Performance of the Night bonus, reminding the rest of the lightweight division of the talent that he possesses.

“It's not about putting an opinion in anybody's mind. At first, I was talked about as the finisher coming into the UFC that wasn't tested, then you grind it out a little bit, now it's like, ‘Well, where are those finishes?’ (That finish) was a nice little reminder that I can still do both. It also lets future opponents know if you make that mistake, I'm right there to capitalize.”

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His last fight was earlier this year in February, and he hasn’t been in action since, but that was due to a new addition that joined his family a few months ago. His family will be in the crowd inside the Moody Center on Saturday night and even though his kids probably won’t remember this moment, he is grateful to have the opportunity to perform in front of them.

Joe Solecki poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session on November 29, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
Joe Solecki poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session on November 29, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

“I'll have this moment forever,” Solecki said. “Show them what it means to go after your dreams, walk in faith, provide for your family, and walk out there in front of 20,000 screaming fans, be bold and get after this guy.  I'm super excited.”

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Solecki was first introduced to fans on Dana White’s Contender Series back in July 2019, when he submitted James Wallace in the first round. He made his debut later that year in December against Matt Wiman. After his debut, he rattled off wins over Austin Hubbard and Jim Miller before losing a split decision to Jared Gordon in 2021.

2023 marks his fourth year in the UFC and Solecki believes that he is only getting better with time and experience and that it is starting to show inside the Octagon.

Joe Solecki Sinks In Rear Naked Choke In Round 2 | UFC Fight Night: Muniz vs Allen
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Joe Solecki Sinks In Rear Naked Choke In Round 2 | UFC Fight Night: Muniz vs Allen
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“Once you get to the UFC, it becomes a lot more about the process, and I think that process has been really enjoyable for me,” Solecki said. “I've had some tough fights in the UFC, a tough loss, some grind it out wins. I think it makes you really appreciate this journey of the sport and it kind of takes you to a veteran overnight. I'm enjoying the process. I'm not rushing to any ranking or outcome or anything like that. I'm here. I'm in the moment.”

Closing Out The 2023 With A Bang

On the flip side, his opponent Klose, hasn’t been in the Octagon since last July, when he defeated Rafa Garcia at UFC 277, which extended his win streak to two. Even though he has spent some time away from fighting, Klose has the experience in MMA, making his debut back in 2017.

When he looks at the matchup, Solecki sees an exciting fight, noting the similarities that the two share when they fight. These are the kinds of fights that Solecki wants.

Joe Solecki reacts after his submission victory over Carl Deaton in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 25, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Joe Solecki reacts after his submission victory over Carl Deaton in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 25, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“He's tough, he's well-rounded and very durable, a lot of decision victories, most of them being well-rounded,” Solecki said. “He knows how to win fights, but that's kind of where I've shined, as well. I've been in some gritty battles and come out on top.”

“It makes it fun to train for someone like that because there's no gaping hole. He's not a specialist. He's a well-rounded winner. I think I've kind of showed the same lately, so it's a very exciting thing to prepare for. That's the kind of fights I want to win and that's the kind of test I want in front of me.”

View Solecki's Athlete Profile | Check Out The Lightweight Rankings

Solecki is well aware that when you make it to the UFC you are fighting opponents at the highest of levels, but he is happy with his progression and climb up in competition within the lightweight division. He sees himself continuing to move up from here.

“The fact that I was sitting here four years ago in fighter meetings on this actual week being like, ‘Man, if I could get that first UFC win,’ now I'm on my third contract and I'm making the climb, it's just a blessing. We’re here now and it is time to test.”

 

Order UFC 296: Edwards vs Covington

UFC Fight Night: Dariush vs Tsarukyan took place live from Moody Center in Austin, Texas on December 2, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass