Joe Solecki – Gunning For Gold.
Meet Joseph Solecki (8-2). Solecki was recently signed to the UFC through ‘Dana White’s Contender Series’. He’ll take on Matt Wiman (16-8). Wiman is no stranger to the bright lights of the UFC. This lightweight clash takes place on Dec. 7 at Capital One Arena in Washington.
Solecki got the winning ticket to the UFC with his win on DWCS 19, back in July in the main event v James Wallace, who was looked at to be a dangerous submission artist. Solecki made light work of Wallace, defeating him in the first round via guillotine choke.
Speaking of submission artists. Solecki has shown himself to be a dangerous man on the ground, with six of his professional wins from 8 coming by submission.
Solecki’s opponent Matt Wiman had recently only returned to action after a four-year lay off. His return saw him lose to Luis Pena by third-round TKO. The 36-year-old has been on the roster dating back to 2006, racking up a record of (10-6) inside the promotion.
Joe was kind enough to give me some time to answer some questions I had for him to include in this piece, which I’m extremely grateful for. Before trying to contact Joe I spent some time reading and watching previous interviews. The impression I got that Joe was a really hard-working, humble, honest, determined, family-orientated guy. However, he’s sometimes hard on himself. By his responses, this seemed to be correct.
Below you will find the answers I got from Joe when asking about things like camp life and how it has been, what inspires Joe, and how it feels fighting in the biggest MMA organisation in the world.
How long has this training camp been for you and how has it been? Have you done anything different since the Wallace fight, or has everything more or less stayed the same?
Joe Solecki – “Training camp has been pretty much since Mid-August. I train all year long just about the same, but really ramp up 6-8 weeks out. I was told to be ready in October or November at the latest. So have been training like I had a fight since August, but my coaches have done a great job pacing me and keeping me healthy.
Since the DWCS fight, I have continued what I was doing in the previous camp, working weekly with Jeff Jimmo as our head coach at Gym-O, in Gastonia, NC with the awesome team up there. I continue to train at home with John Salter and the Salty Dog BJJ team at our home base in Wilmington, and as always, I am learning and working on my boxing with my boxing coach who I have been with since the beginning. Since August, we have added a strength and conditioning coach, Hudson Rose by Hudson Rose Athletics. He has done a fantastic job working on my weaknesses as an athlete. Also helping me develop athletically, not just in strength or in areas I am already developing in. He is very dedicated as a coach and someone I will be working with for a long time.”
After your win on the Contender Series, what does it mean to you personally to be fighting under the UFC?
Joe Solecki – “It means everything. I set out before my first amateur fight with one of my many goals to be in the UFC, I felt like a lot of people thought I was kind of crazy. I feel validated by getting my contract and proud that I put my mind to something and accomplished it. BUT, I have always had much bigger goals than just getting into the UFC, and now I have the opportunity to work towards those. So I am very grateful for the opportunities that I have been blessed with.”
What inspires you to be a successful MMA fighter, and what drives you day to day to train and compete?
Joe Solecki – “The biggest personal inspiration in my life right now is my wife and the little family we have with our dogs, and one day, God willing, a few kids. I think about that daily, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to provide and be the best I can be for her.
In addition, I believe having such a tough upbringing in the Jiu-Jitsu world, losing almost all of my matches as a child really drives me to want to be the best. I want to be an example to other people of hard work, drive, passion, and hopefully can be a good role model as a person as well one day. I just want to be a good man and a good fighter. Most importantly, my faith has really been a driving factor, these past few years especially. In my life, my career, and in my relationships with people, it has made all the difference.”
How do you view Wiman as a fighter, and what do you think the biggest threat in his game is?
Joe Solecki – “I view Matt Wiman as a very tough veteran and he has my respect. I feel like his biggest threat is his ability to take damage and continue forward. His experience is also present, but these are all things that we have prepared for.”
Being ten years younger than your opponent, do you think this is an advantage for you?
Joe Solecki – “I believe it can go either way depending on the fighters. For me, I believe it is an advantage in this fight because at my age, 26, I feel I have the maturity of someone a little older, especially in the way I live my life. I also have the physical capabilities of someone who has yet to even reach their physical prime yet, I am durable, disciplined, and very very hungry to achieve my goals. I believe this is a benefit to me.”
From this, it’s pretty easy to see what type of person Joe is. I wish him nothing but the best and good health for December 7th in Washington. A young prospect in the game whose attitude and mindset is like a fighter who had been in the promotion for a long time. Striving to compete and provide for his family and setting up his future for his family one day. You can’t hate this and have to be a fan.
I’d like to thank Joe again for his time in responding and happily agreeing to let me write this short piece on him.
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