Filipino-American fighter Mark Striegl said he felt that contracting COVID-19 somehow came to be a blessing in disguise.
The MMA veteran, who has fought in various promotions in Asia, was supposed to make his UFC debut against Russia's Timur Valiev in Las Vegas in August.
But the bout was scrapped when he tested positive days before the fight.
"It's horrible to contract COVID, more so to get it a few days before my bout. I was supposed to fight on Saturday and I was supposed to check in to the hotel for UFC fighters and one Wednesday I tested positive. Three days before a fight I tested positive," he said in an interview on Noli Eala's "Power and Play" online program.
"It was a bummer, I viewed it as a small setback."
A week later, he received the good news that he was pencilled for a bout against Said Nurmagomedov, one of UFC's rising prospects.
"Thank God I was able to overcome the virus and now I have a fight lined up. So super excited and even better by the way," he said.
The MMA fight will take place on October 17 in UFC's "Fight Island" in Abu Dhabi as one of the preliminaries in UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs Korean Zombie.
"I believe everything happens for a reason. It was all in good time. I fought in so many promotions. Now it's time to make that jump to the UFC itself," said Striegl, who also won a gold medal for the Philippines in the recent Southeast Asian Games combat sambo.
Compared to Valiev, Nurmagomedov is the more recognizable fighter. He also appears to be the more dangerous one.
"They're both Russians, I guess I was destined to fight a Russian. They're both tough guys, it's going to be a good fight. It's going to be a war," said Striegl.