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LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 09: Joe Solecki prepares to fight James Wallace in their lightweight bout during Dana White's Contender Series at the UFC Apex on July 9, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/DWCS LLC)

Joe Solecki: ‘I got my confidence back’ heading into Octagon debut at UFC DC

Joe Solecki discusses his upcoming fight against Matt Wiman at UFC on ESPN 7. The event takes place Dec. 7 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. and will be headlined by a heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

The 26-year-old Solecki talks how excited he is to be on this particular card, fighting live in front of his father for the first time, being a part of The Fight Game documentary series, how he responded to his episode heading into his Contender Series bout, his response to getting booked against Matt Wiman, how he likes the matchup from a stylistic perspective, the difference between nerves and jitters, picturing his walk to the Octagon since he was in high school, appreciating the road he has been on to get to the UFC, how he sees the fight playing out, John Salter’s big win at Bellator 233 and the impact he has had on Joe’s career and much more.

Solecki, who earned a UFC contract with a first-round submission win over James Wallace at Dana White’s Contender Series 19, feels a new sense of confidence since that fateful night in July.

“I think I got my confidence back [in the Contender Series fight],” Solecki told MyMMANews.com. “Since my first loss, I think I left a piece of me in the cage that night with Cesar Balmaceda at CFFC 65. I was 3-0 [as a pro], 5-0 as an amateur — so eight submissions in a row in the first round — went out there and got the rear naked choke, he gutted through it and put it on me for the next two rounds like I didn’t belong there. I had my first real adrenaline dump like that since I had never been to a second round. I had two good fights then I ran into Nikolas Motta [at 864 Fighting Championship] and fought the two best rounds of my career and got slept, and embarrassingly so. If I didn’t lose my confidence in that first fight, I certainly lost it in the second one.

“I have my confidence back. I’m not over confident, I don’t think I’m capable of that. Even now, I’m still very nervous, I respect Matt Wiman, but I’m putting it all in perspective. I’m gonna go out and be me. I fought three, four fights, maybe five, without any confidence, identifying as almost a ham and egger. Like, maybe I’ll fight regionally and make some money, and maybe I’ll have a school one day. Silently, I put the dream on hold and now I’m here. I’ve shown what I can do and I really only had a three or four minute window to show it. Now I really have a chance to shine against a veteran. I found my confidence, not just in me, but also in the process, with my coaches. The confidence is coming from them and in myself to show up on fight night. To come back from whatever life throws at me, fighting throws at me, I kind of feel like a boy to a man, now. I feel really ready for this.”

Check out the full interview with Joe Solecki ahead of his Octagon debut against Matt Wiman at UFC on ESPN 7 in the video above.