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Emil Meek recounts ‘nightmare’ 2019, expects 2020 return against ‘legend’ Diego Sanchez

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Emil Meek has been sidelined for over a year due to a string of injuries. But he hopes to explode back into the spotlight next year with a fight against Diego Sanchez.

Meek and Sanchez verbally agreed on social medial to meet sometime in 2020; it was a welcome shift for “Valhalla,” who revealed the depths of his despair this year as he struggled to get back to full health.

“2019 has just been sh*tstorm with injury after injury,” Meek told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast. “It was just a stream of bullsh*t.

“Now, finally, we are looking to get back in control of it. The UFC has been cool with me, they’ve been so good. They’ve given me time to recuperate and recover and to be 100 percent again, so when the time comes, it will be worth the wait.”

Over the course of the year, Meek underwent elbow surgery, dislocated his shoulder and suffered a series of serious muscle strains. Given his Scandinavian residence, it was particularly hard to sit out when the UFC brought its first show to Copenhagen this past month.

“It’s always a nightmare to sit on the sidelines and watch,” he said. “That’s also the reason why I didn’t go over. I told my teammates—a lot of my friends were fighting—that I didn’t feel like I deserved to be there. I felt like I had to be home working and doing my rehab, doing everything perfectly until I’m back again. Maybe then I can afford to have some fun and watch some fights.”

The Norwegian welterweight said it’s been even more difficult to be inactive, as he’s coming off a loss in his last outing to Bartosz Fabinski, a fight that in hindsight he doesn’t believe he should’ve taken due to injuries he was carrying.

“There’s nothing that’s worse than this situation,” he said. “To be working and working and not producing any results, and then the last thing that will be remembered of you is that last fight you had. For me, it’s that sh*t fight with Fabinski, it’s horrible. Hopefully for me, my future opponents think that’s the version they will get, and they will be very, very surprised.”

Having agreed to fight Sanchez via social media, Meek believes a war with “The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner would be the perfect contest to remind people what he’s all about in his UFC return.

“The would be fantastic fight for me to get,” he said. “I know everybody wants to see me against not-a-wrestler. But to be honest, I can easily fight wrestlers now, because I’ve been working so hard on that. Let’s be honest, the best part of fighting is two guys going at it, it’s a fist fight where the best man is going to win; the toughest man is going to win.

“For me, my bucket list is getting shorter and shorter every time I compete. I think I have three or four things left, and it’s of course the UFC belt, being on the Joe Rogan podcast, having an open workout, and to go toe-to-toe with a legend in the UFC Octagon. This is a guy that won ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ season one, (so) he’s such a legend.”