Contender Series alum Joe Solecki made a successful octagon debut Saturday, going the distance with Matt Wiman at UFC DC.
Washington, D.C. — One of a handful of fighters to make their octagon debut Saturday at UFC DC was New Jersey native Joe Solecki. Solecki, a Contender Series alum, won his way into the promotion earlier this year. Nothing, however, compares to your UFC debut. He made that one count at the Capital One Arena, earning a unanimous decision over Matt Wiman.
“Great feeling,” Solecki said following the bout, speaking to reporters including Cageside Press. “Matt Wiman, much respect to him. I know a little bit transpired at the end, 99% of that was him, I think he was just frustrated with the way I kind of grinded him.”
Wishing the best for his opponent over the holidays, Solecki went on to discuss what the night meant for him. After a first-round finish on the Contender Series, “This really proves to me that I can do all the things that maybe leading up to the fight I’m nervous about or worried about experiencing, all these things. I think it silences a lot of the doubters, not that I listen too much, but there’s doubters in my own head. I doubt myself all the time. It just shows that when it’s time to work, I can work. I can grind with the best of them.”
Solecki questions anyone who claims they don’t have a little self-doubt from time to time. “Anybody who says they don’t have it, I think they’re lying,” he said. “But I’m a young guy, so obviously I’ve got to get here, get the lay of the land, get used to the walkout. But I can honestly say it felt very, very natural today.”
It’s a moment, Solecki said, that he’d been envisioning since he was a little kid. There were no major jitters, either. “Maybe leading up to the fight I had them, but not in there. Any fatigue or anything like that was just because I was working a really hard, high pace.”
Solecki agreed that the Contender Series had him well prepared for his octagon debut. “Absolutely. If you can go out there and fight in front of 80 to 100 people, Dana White, Mick Maynard, Sean Shelby sitting right there, literally cageside, you can be on a prelim in the UFC I think,” he explained. “If you’re mentally tough. When it’s time to work, I’m mentally tough. I’m a mess backstage, I’m a mess all fight camp, sure, I’m a human being. When it’s time to work, I’ve been competing since I was six years old. Lights turn on, everything else shuts out, and I’m ready to work.”
Watch the full UFC DC post-fight press scrum with Joe Solecki above!