When Will UFC Cult-Favourite Emil “Valhalla” Meek Return to the Octagon?

Raulian Paiva
Raulian Paiva

Since arriving at the end of 2016, Emil Meek has won over a contingent of UFC fans with his friendly nature outside of the octagon and fully-embodied Viking persona once the bell rings. Despite having gone 1-3 since coming to the promotion, Meek still boasts the adoration of new fans around the world and fans in his native Norway.

While losing three fights in a row is rarely good for anyone looking to remain in the UFC, Meek appears to still be in the picture for another bout, with some even more good news on the way.

Meek to become a father

The start of this year was poised to be a big one for Meek. Having taken a year out due to a string of injuries, “Valhalla” sought to get back on track with a welterweight showdown at UFC Fight Night 168 in New Zealand. In the running to his potentially career-defining bout, however, Meek received the great news that his partner, Andriane Lafayette Skentos, was pregnant.

The news broke on social media in February this year, with the Viking going on to battle Jake Matthews on February 22. The ensuing bout didn’t go to plan for Meek, even though it produced quite the spectacle for fight fans, but the 31-year-old already appears to be gearing up for another scrap when the opportunity comes along.

Looking to build up again in the UFC

Meek has enjoyed quite the mixed martial arts career, particularly since arriving in Las Vegas to battle in the UFC. Before coming to America, Meek went 8-2, with seven of those wins coming by way of knockout. Then, he arrived to represent Norway in the sport’s biggest promotion.

Even before he defeated Jordan Mein in his UFC debut on December 10, 2016, his celebrity status in Norway was secured. Much like with Norway’s pioneering female boxer Cecilia Braekhus, there was a great deal of interest in Meek’s career in the combat sport, with Norwegian Betsafe teaming up with the fighter to produce documentaries and short films covering his efforts behind the scenes.

After Mein, Meek lost to the now-champion and seemingly unbeatable Kamaru Usman by unanimous decision in 2018. Later that same year, he went the distance with Bartosz Fabinski despite picking up a nasty injury. The UFC allowed him to take a year out to recover from a string of setbacks, but his long-awaited return to the octagon didn’t result in victory.

In the running to the Auckland event, Meek appeared to be gearing up a bout with Diego Sanchez. Regardless, his rumble with Jake Matthews was a great fight. Both welterweights put everything into the scrap and, as relayed by Sporting News, both went full-power throughout the three-round contest, with both having risky moments. However, despite a valiant effort from the Viking in the final round, the judges ruled in favor of his Aussie opponent.

Now, it seems, Meek might just be lining up Sanchez once again. Picked up by MMA Mania on social media, a few weeks after UFC Fight Night 168, Meek and Joshua Fabia, Sanchez’s coach, went at it over the internet. It may be a bit of a long shot, but given that he’s called out Sanchez before, it seems as though Meek (UFC ranked 55) is looking to battle the 30-12 Diego Sanchez (UFC ranked 61).

Meek’s fans from Trondheim to Las Vegas will be hoping that “Valhalla” enters to UFC octagon at least one more time, especially as he’s overcome such a spell of injuries and is so undeniably likable.