Joe Solecki fought Austin Hubbard once before; well sort of.
The UFC lightweight was forced to pull out of his July 20 bout with Hubbard after testing positive for COVID-19. It still didn’t stop the 26-year-old from picturing himself inside the octagon with Hubbard at UFC on ESPN 11.
Hubbard remained on the card facing Max Rohskopf. Rohskopf was making his debut on five-days notice. Hubbard earned a second-round TKO after Rohskopf never came off the stool for the third round. Max Rohskopf was recently released by the UFC.
Solecki is rebooked to face Hubbard at UFC on ESPN 15 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday, Aug. 22. According to Solecki, he would have fared much better against Hubbard than Roskopf.
“I was on edge watching because I should have been in there….I was watching it from as if I had to go in there that night,” Solecki said. “We’re just at different points in our life. This isn’t a knock on him [Roshkopf], but I don’t have the luxury to quit no matter how bad it gets.”
Joe Solecki receives “Blessing in disguise”
Solecki turned misfortune into what he calls a “Blessing in disguise.”
Solecki missed out on competing in his second UFC bout but was able to see recent footage on Hubbard. Not only that. Solecki still drew the same opponent, giving him additional time to prepare.
Although Joe Solecki received other names and dates, it was Austin Hubbard’s name that showed up on the contract.
By defeating Rohskopf Austin Hubbard enters the fight riding a four-fight win streak. That said, Solecki is more than happy with the matchup.
“I’m super pumped it got rebooked,” Solecki said. “He’s definitely a great opponent and I get to fight him coming off a win now too.”
Although Solecki missed out on a July return, he will still be able to fight before the birth of his first child. Solecki and his wife are expecting in September, giving him a whole other form of motivation to fight.
After more than eight months since his UFC debut, Solecki is ready to return to work. He has a new purpose and is looking to provide for his wife and their expanding family.
He plans to endure whatever Hubbard brings into the octagon, good or bad.
“I can look at my wife, look at that child and know it doesn’t matter if you’re motivated or not, that is a very short-term feeling and I think people look too much into that, you got to get the work done,” Solecki said. “I have a family. This is my job. I have to answer the bell, I have to answer the call. I definitely think I would have had a great night that night.”