Ovince St. Preux: I’m content with working my way up (Exclusive Interview)

Ovince St. Preaux may have started his Mixed Martial Arts career only three years ago, but he is very quickly becoming a very well-known name amongst hardcore fans. The proud Haitian-American was a stand out in high school wrestling, played football for the University of Tennessee, and graduated with a degree in Sociology. Along the way, the man known as “OSP” has beaten the likes of Jason Day, Antwain Britt, Benji Radach, and Abongo Humphrey. This Friday on Showtime at the Strikeforce Challengers 17 card, this top prospect is determined to take his career to the big stage with a win over Joe Cason.

I had chance to speak to Ovince St. Preaux and he shares with the Lowkick Nation his thoughts going into this upcoming fight.

Your victory over veteran Benji Radach at Hendo vs. Babalu back in December was pretty much your coming-out party on the main stage. Since then you’ve fought Abongo Humphrey back in January and rumors were heavy on you taking on King Mo back in May or June. There were even rumors of you taking on Rafael Feijao during the Fedor vs. Hendo card. You’ll be taking on Joe Cason this Friday for Strikeforce Challengers 17, what do you think of him as an opponent?
Joe Cason is a real game opponent, comes from a really good gym (Roufusport). He’s one of those guys who are up and coming. He’s going to be very hungry.

Many fans don’t know too much about Joe Cason, stylistically what is he like from what you’ve viewed?
From what I’ve seen, he’s more of a brawler. I heard he got a pretty good wrestling pedigree. I’m basically expecting to be in a very tough fight.

After your fight with established name Benji Radach, were you expecting to be offered more “name” competition or are you content in working your way up back to the big main card stage?
I’m content with working my up. It’s just one of those things I tell people, I’m in no hurry. I’m just taking everything in right now. I’m definitely blessed to be in this situation and I’m just taking in everything as it comes.

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With only 14 professional fights in the sport, you are relatively new to the game. How many fights do you ideally want to have a year on the road to earning yourself a title shot?
To be quite honest, last year I had seven fights. I tell people ideally four to five fights, but at the same time it really doesn’t matter to me.  It’s one of them things where if I’m healthy I’ll fight. It really don’t matter. If I have a fight this weekend, get out of it unscaved and they want me to fight next weekend I’ll go ahead and do it.

So you’re just ready for whatever, ready at any time?

You wrestled in High School; you were also a defensive end / linebacker for the University of Tennessee, and have a degree Sociology. How did you get into the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and at what point did you decide this line of work is for you?
A friend of mine, one of my fraternity brothers he asked me if I wanted to go to kickboxing practice. It eventually led to Mixed Martial Arts and I kind of stumbled upon it. Thus far MMA has been a blessing to me.

Before you started training and got into the sport, what was your initial impression of MMA?
I meet up with my old teammates from time to time and they all tell me “I’m crazy” for doing the sport. At first I had that same impression, but it’s one of those things once you start training in Mixed Martial arts, you’re going to get the urge to get into the cage. That ended up happening to me.  

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Strikeforce the promotion as everyone already knows was purchased by the UFC’s parent company ZUFFA back in March. What are some changes you’ve noticed in the way the company is run?
Just a few, from what I hear a lot of the Strikeforce Challengers cards will be in Vegas. Just a little bit, but not too much change.  

Personally did you see that happening or did it come from left field?  
I think it caught a lot of people by surprise.  That’s the way business is these days. You don’t know what’s gonna happen. One day you are doing something, the next you are doing something different and everything will be switched around. I guess that’s just the nature of the business, expect the unexpected.

Another very fast rising Light Heavyweight star in the sport Jon Jones, what do you think of the current UFC Light Heavyweight champion, and a match with him in the future is that something you have on your to do list?
Right now, I’m just taking everything slowly. But if it happens in the near future, it happens. Nobody expected to be a champion that young. A year ago, I never expected to be in this situation. I’m just fortunate to be blessed.

What do you think of Jon Jones as a fighter?
To be quite honest, he’s definitely a good fighter. I can’t knock anything he does. He’s just one of those guys, he’s one of those select few people in sports that comes around every twenty years, and changes the game. He’s like LeBron James, the things he is able to do.

Ok we’ve taken care of the serious questions, now let’s ask a few fun ones. I call this the final flurry. I’m going to ask you a series of short questions. Ready?

Your favorite meal?
Five guys and a burger. Just chillin’ with my friends at the bar minus the drinking.

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Who do you have bumping in your speakers or headphones at the moment?
Rick Ross’ “Teflon Don” album.

Dream fight with anyone of your choosing, they don’t have to be Mixed Martial Artists.
I’d probably want to fight Mike Tyson, just so I can say I’ve fought Tyson.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a professional fighter?
I’d probably be a cop.

Favorite part of being a fighter?
I like traveling, as a fighter you get to travel a lot. As a fighter it’s not like a 9-5 job, you set your own hours. Last place I went to was Aruba, that was pretty cool.

Who’s more likely to end their lockout first the NBA or NFL?
Hopefully the NFL’s lockout will end soon!

If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?
Flying would definitely be good for me.

My last one, your prediction for Fedor vs. Hendo?
Henderson knocks out Fedor in the first round.  

Thank you for your time Ovince and all the best against Joe Cason this Friday. Before we close would you like to make any shoutouts?
Shout out to my home gym Knoxville Martial Arts Academy, Eric Turner and Joey Zonar. Everybody back in the University of Tennessee community. Shout outs to Team Quest in Temecula, California for helping me. Thanks to Hendo, Frankie, Virgil and Heath for the good training. Gotta shout out my management team, Alchemist Management. Hammer, Lex, Nima, Cherrie, Kelly, all those guys.  Give a shout out to my frat Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Shout out to my home at the bottom of Florida, the 239. And I always gotta shout out the Haitian people, sak pase (Haitian for “what’s up”)!

You Lowkickers out there can catch Strikeforce Challengers 17 this Friday on Showtime. Check your local listings!

Photo from Alchemist Management