Ovince St. Preux: I Want Forrest Griffin in the UFC
By Joshua Molina
In the sport of mixed martial arts, there are fighters and there are fighters. And then there is ex-Strikeforce star Ovince St. Preux.
The Haitian-American fighter known as “OSP,” in a span of 321 days – from Feb. 20, 2010 to Jan. 7, 2011 — fought seven times. More impressively, he was undefeated during that stretch, knocking off quality fighters such as Abongo Humphrey, Antwain Britt and Benji Radach. He beat those fighters in a span of seven weeks.
So when Strikeforce folded in January, it seemed likely that the 29-year-old former defensive end for the Tennessee Volunteers would be among the top guys headed for the UFC. But his name didn’t appear anywhere on any official lists. Yet that doesn’t matter to OSP.
“I am confident I will be in the UFC,” said St. Preux, 17-5. “I know what I am capable of. I am 100 percent sure I will make the transition to UFC.”
In fact, St. Preux is ready to fight right now. Besides working as a counselor for teens, he trains every day and remains in shape in case he’s called in at a moment’s notice as a replacement fighter in the UFC. Long term, he expects to fight in the organization later this year.
“With the UFC you never know,” St. Preux said. “MMA is a sport you have to stay in shape year-round. With the UFC you never know what’s going to happen.”
When he finally arrives, expect him to make a big impact. A college football and high school wrestling star, OSP pulled off eight straight wins between February 2010 and December 2011 before he stepped into the Hexagon for the biggest fight of his career – against the great Gegard Mousasi.
“I went into that fight not feeling 100 percent,” St. Preux said. He called it a learning experience. St. Preux said he let the fact that he was fighting a Top 5 light heavyweight get inside his head.
“You are either going to rise to the occasion or it is going to get to you,” St. Preux said. “It got to me.”
He said the loss was his own fault.
“It was more about my performance,” St. Preux said. “I didn’t meet my own expectations. It’s just unfortunate that it happened to be during my biggest fight.”
The night before the weigh-in, St. Preux recalls, he was eating pizza – something that a top-level fighter knows he shouldn’t do before a fight. Mousasi used his cage experience and superior Muay Thai, striking and ground-and-pound, in the fight to silence St. Preux. St. Preux felt like he was able to figure Mousasi out in the third round, but by that time it was too late and he lost the decision.
He learned from the fight. He KO’d T.J. Cook in the third round on Aug. 12, on the undercard of the Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman fight. He said it was the first time he had ever “ate right” before a fight. Coming off that big win, St. Preux said he’s ready to fight anyone in the UFC.
“It’s going to get a lot crazier when I get in there,” St. Preux said. “Forrest Griffin is a guy I’d really love to fight.”
Five years since his debut, St. Preux said he’s thrilled with his place in the sport. He feels like he is still a newcomer.
“I was the same guy in college who watched MMA and thought, ‘How could they do that?’ Now I am doing it,” he said.
He’s still hungry.
“I see myself as one of the top fighters at 205 in the world,” St. Preux said. “I love what I am doing.”