“Finally, everything went okay,” Brzeski said of the contest. “I won the fight and got the contract, but the stress and emotions were unimaginable.”

But not everything went okay.

The Polish fighter tested positive for a banned substance in his post-fight drug screening, resulting in Brzeski incurring a fine, a nine-month suspension, and his victory being ruled a no contest, but the UFC hopeful was only focused on one thing.

“I was really sad when my win was overturned, but there really was only one concern: do I stay in the UFC?” said Brzeski, who maintained his place on the roster and makes his promotional debut this weekend against fellow DWCS alum Martin Buday. “Since USADA tested me many times after the fight, the biggest MMA organization in the world didn’t fire me.”

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Given an additional several months to sit on the sidelines before finally getting to make the walk to the Octagon for the first time, Brzeski did exactly what you would hope someone with aspirations of breaking into the rankings and beyond would do: he trained like a mad man, supplementing his work at home with trips to various different outposts.

A quick comb through his Instagram not only showcases multiple images from his usual surrounds, but also time spent with recent DWCS winner Anton Turkalj, former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, and various other cross training trips, all designed to make Brzeski better as he readies to step in against Buday on Saturday.

“During my suspension, I was training harder then ever because I knew that from now on, I will face the best fighters in the world.

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“Usually I train in NKSW Nowy Targ, but to be the best, you have to train with the best; that’s why I travel a lot,” continued the 30-year-old, who carries an 8-1-1 record with one no contest. “This time, I was in Sweden at GBG in Goteborg, and I’m also very often in Rzeszów and train with Szymon Bajor, who is one of the best heavyweights in Poland.”

After a tricky road to the UFC APEX last fall and a longer-than-desired wait to make his promotional debut, Brzeski is finally on the precipice of donning his fight kit and marching out to the Octagon for the first time.