Joe Solecki (9-2) will step back into the octagon for the second time in his young career when he faces Austin Hubbard (11-4) in a lightweight bout on June 20 in Las Vegas.
Solecki was a little nervous in anticipation to get his next fight secured, and it had nothing to do with any potential opponent. Solecki and his wife are expecting their first child in September, and the thought of not being present during the birth was weighing on the lightweight prospect. “This is perfect timing with everything. All along, I’ve had this stress with fight week thinking ‘am I gonna be gone when this baby is here?'”
Speaking to Cageside Press/Between Rounds Radio, Solecki explained that “I was supposed to fight in May or June, then the pandemic came and I was like ‘oh no I’m gonna miss it!’ This couldn’t be more perfect, so yea we are so pumped. I get to fight, go out there and have a great performance. Put it all on the line and then a couple of months later meet my baby girl.”
With the pandemic effecting all of us in different ways, we asked Joe how it has effected his ability to train. “It was great for me because I am always on the go. I am constantly on this wheel traveling, and being stuck at home [means] getting all the training I’ve needed. So I’ve had like a twelve week camp being able to sleep in my bed every night, go where I need to go and come back home. It’s kept me from that physical burnout of being on the road all the time and I’ve been able to spend time with my wife while she is pregnant.”
Solecki’s first official UFC fight was a unanimous decision victory over Matt Wiman (16-8) in December of last year. We got Solecki’s thoughts on his overall performance against Wiman. “I wasn’t disappointed I didn’t finish him. I would have liked to, and I thought for a second I would, but when it didn’t happen I said ‘this is a tough guy, he doesn’t get finished much.’ I got to log three full rounds in the UFC cage and that was a very big deal to me so that was good for me long term.”
Cage time, of course, is crucial. Now Solecki turns his attention to Hubbard on June 20. “I think I match up very, very well. My coaches seem to think so, and I think so,” Solecki told us. “I know he’s a very tough dude; he is durable and gritty. He comes from a great team out at Elevation. I know this is a well rounded opponent. I know if I make a mistake he’s gonna find it. We know he is game and dangerous, if I want to put him away I have to play up and be a complete hammer in this fight.”
We asked Joe what his biggest advantage in this fight will be. Most fight fans would point to his excellent BJJ, but the Gym O product gave a different answer. “My ability to think, my ability to find a way you know, if I’m outmatched in an area I always find a way to work around it and I think it’s the same case here. It’s good decision making, I think that’s where I’m gonna have the edge, being disciplined, knowing when to go and when not to, and when to pull the trigger.”
The UFC’s June 20 card will air on both ESPN and ESPN+ in the U.S. Tune in to this exciting lightweight match-up when Solecki meets Hubbard! Catch the full interview with Joe Solecki below!