It’s cold in Norway this time of year, and the sun seems to set earlier every day. As the temperature drops and the days darken, Norwegian welterweight Emil Meek is feeling the urge to leave. Not forever, just for long enough to send a worthy adversary to Valhalla — and maybe get a bit of sun.
“I need to travel somewhere,” Meek told BJPENN.com on Tuesday. “I can’t handle all this darkness.”
It’s been a long time since Meek made the walk to the UFC’s Octagon. Since July of 2018, to be exact, when he gave up a hard-fought decision to Poland’s Bartosz Fabinski.
Since then, he’s been recovering from a long list of injuries — trouble with his shoulder, his knee, his groin, his elbow — and as those injuries have healed, his urge to fight again has grown.
He’s missed his job terribly.
”In life, we always want the things we don’t have,” a meditative Meek said. “When you’re training your ass off, you think ‘it would be nice to have a normal job for once, and not get punched in the face all the time.’ But then you take one step back from it, and you realize that this shit is the most awesome stuff in the entire world, and that I’m able to do this as a profession, to be an MMA fighter in the biggest league of them all, in the UFC, it’s just amazing…
“[Being away] gives you some perspective and reminds you to be grateful.”
Now healthy, Meek is targeting January for his return to the Octagon, and is hoping Diego Sanchez will be the man to welcome back. He has great respect for The Ultimate Fighter season one winner, and would be honored to share the cage with him.
“I don’t know where to start with Diego,” he said. “If you’ve seen his fights, you know [why I called him out].
“I think everything about [that fight] would be perfect. The way he fights, he cannot be boring. It must be the most entertaining fight of the night whenever goes down. And everything leading up to it, the media, just to have him as your opponent? Man… It’s going to be so much fun. Having him screaming in your face, having him do all of that crazy Jedi Diego Sanchez stuff… He’s just so unique.”
Sanchez has recently turned his attention toward a fight with the UFC’s No. 6 ranked welterweight contender Demian Maia, but Meek doesn’t feel the UFC will have much interest in that fight.
“I’m super disappointed,” Meek said of potentially losing his desired Sanchez matchup to Maia. “Let’s be honest. Nobody has asked for Diego Sanchez for about four years. It’s been quiet as the Dead Sea. Then one week after I ask for him and invite him to dance, Demian Maia, after the main event [of UFC Singapore] calls out Diego Sanchez. It can’t be true. It’s insane!
“But then again, I don’t think the UFC is too excited about that match,” Meek added. “Demian Maia kind of looked like an old drunk guy fighting [against Ben Askren in Singapore]. Me and Diego is a match that makes more sense. Diego needs a win, I need a win…
“I feel like the matchup makes sense.”
If Meek doesn’t get his desired fight with Sanchez, he has some other ideas. He’s interested in a fight with former UFC welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves, and would love the chance to beat up Mickey Gall.
“I’ve always dreamt about fighting Thiago Alves,” he said. “He’s also a legend in this game, and I think our styles would match up to be a great fight.
“I’ve always wanted to beat up Mickey Gall,” he continued. “It’s a long list. More realistically, I think Thiago Alves [makes sense]. He’s not ranked, and it would be a great fight, and maybe Mickey Gall after he loses to [Carlos] Condit.”
Meek is also still interested in fighting “Platinum” Mike Perry, a man he’s called out many times previously.
“That’s a fight I’m always interested in,” he said.
Whoever ends up standing across from him in the Octagon, Meek is simply excited to get back in there and perform. With one fight left on his current UFC contract, he wants to make a statement loud enough to encourage the UFC to sign him to another long-term deal.
“It puts more pressure on me, but I love pressure,” he said of the need to perform in the last fight on his contract. “The more I feel like I have a lot to lose, the more I’m going to push myself and do everything that’s necessary.”
Suffice it to say that Emil Meek is ready to sharpen his weapons and sail off to the Octagon, wherever it happens to be set up on the night of his next fight.
“Brace yourself,” he concluded. “Valhalla is coming.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/30/2019.