Some worry about ring rust as Chris (The Polish Hammer) Horodecki returns to action Saturday night in his World Extreme Cagefighting debut. The baby-faced 22-year-old from London, Ont., has fought just once since April 2008 after all.
But an excited Horodecki (13-1) sees it differently.
"This would be my fourth fight this year," he said. "If everything had went through the way it should have."
Of course it didn't.
A January fight with Dan Lauzon for Affliction fell through when a neck injury sidelined the Canadian. A rescheduled bout between the two in August evaporated when Affliction folded its fight promotions arm.
Horodecki's lone outing this year was a submission win over William Sriyapai on the "Fight Force: Ultimate Chaos" card in June.
"Things happen. It's out of my control. I can't really stress about it. You've just got to roll with the punches basically," said Horodecki, who made his name with an 8-1 run in the International Fight League. "I'm really happy we're settled, in a promotion that will make sure we have fights, that the shows will go through. I'm real happy."
Horodecki's return to the cage will be challenging as he takes on Anthony (The Assassin) Njokuani on Saturday night in the co-main event of WEC 45 in Las Vegas (TSN2, 10pm et/7pm pt). Njokuani (12-2) is coming off a pair of knockout-of-the-night performances.
"Chris has got his hands full and Chris knows that," said WEC CEO Reed Harris. "Chris knew going into the WEC that he was going to be stepping up and Chris hasn't fought in a while. Guys say ring rust is a problem. He said he's ready, he's been training, he's ready to go. We know Njokuani is because of his performances in our last couple of events. So I've got a feeling this could be another one of those things where guys stand in the centre and trade (punches)."
Harris tried to sign Horodecki more than a year ago but lost him to Affliction after the IFL folded.
"Chris has always been on my radar," he said.
Njokuani, 29, is known for his standup, as is Horodecki. Both say they will be happy to fight on their feet Saturday.
Horodecki says his neck is fine now, thanks to an extended rehab and some time off.
"I'm back, full-strength," he said. "But that's what happens. It's a wear-and-tear sport. You can only put so much time in and grind, grind, grind and the injuries happen. People don't realize."
Horodecki actually tried to fight Lauzon the first time, but failed his medical. "Maybe it was a better thing that happened," he conceded.
Horodecki is optimistic by nature.
"There's always two ways you can look at the glass," he says. "I just try to keep a positive attitude and keep that energy flowing."
He has needed that during his recent setbacks. Horodecki is used to being busy, fighting five times in both 2006 and 2007.
The main event Saturday features lightweights Donald (Cowboy) Cerrone and Ed Ratcliff.
Notes -- While his first and last fights were in cages, Horodecki has fought most of his career in the ring ... He has spent the last two months training in Las Vegas with coach Shawn Tompkins ... Horodecki, UFC lightweight Sam Stout and WEC featherweight Mark Homonick co-own their own gym, the Adrenaline Training Centre, in London, Ont.