What is next for Ovince Saint Preux?

Alex Cate, who wrote about Ovince Saint Preux in the spring 2014 issue of Tennessee Alumnus, follows up with this post about the last fight and the future. In the above photo from our photo shoot for the cover story, Alex is standing on the right in the blue jacket.


Ovince Saint Preux continued his quest for mixed martial arts glory three weeks ago when he defeated Nikita Krylov with the rare Von Flue choke on March 15 at UFC 171.

I caught up Monday with Saint Preux, who has been spending time with family in his hometown of Immokalee, Fla., since the fight. The UFC light heavyweight says he feels great after his victory and is already looking forward to getting back in the gym so he can prepare for his next fight.

“The minute I get back to Knoxville I’ll get in the gym,” he said. “I’ve still been working out while I’m down [in Florida] but I told myself I’d relax. I just need to give my body a rest.”

Saint Preux was able to submit Krylov by the seldom seen Von Flue choke just 1:29 into the match, keeping him undefeated in the UFC – his third straight win.

Going into the match, Saint Preux had little time to learn about his opponent. His original opponent, Thiago Silva, was scratched from the match up after an arrest. Krylov took Silva’s place just weeks before the event.

Originally, Saint Preux wanted to knock him out but on the advice of head trainer, Eric Turner, the game plan changed to exploit the much weaker ground game and wrestling of Krylov.

Shortly into the first period, Krylov tried to use a Guillotine choke on Saint Preux but the former Vol smartly kept his side position which disabled Krylov from finishing the move. From that position, Saint Preux was able to lock his hands around Krylov’s head and arm, sink his shoulder, and squeeze until the referee was forced to stop the fight.

“I was pulling myself off of him before the ref even had a chance to pull me off. I locked on, and I didn’t feel any fight anymore, and the minute that happened there wasn’t a need to hold on to the choke anymore,” Saint Preux said.

While Krylov’s name may not hold the same luster as others in his division, the victory put Saint Preux into the top 15 light heavyweight ranking on UFC.com.

Saint Preux treats the win like another step on the way to the top. He said he was shocked by the ranking but completely deserving of it.

“I think I solidified myself within the 205 weight class, and I think I should be top 15. And a year from now I’m going to think I should be in the top five,” he said. “A year and a half from now I’m going to think I should be champ.”

Now his focus shifts back to the next fight and the next opponent. Saint Preux called out fellow light heavyweight, Fabio Maldonado, on Twitter recently. He said that fighting Maldonado would be a great matchup because both fighters recently defeated Gian Villante.

Unfortunately, it’s not up to Saint Preux who he gets to fight. All he can do is prepare to accept whoever the UFC decides he should fight.

“First thing Monday, I’ll hit everything full tilt,” Saint Preux said. “I’ve been training. I feel good. My cardio feels great right now, and then I’ll just basically wait on a phone call.

“I don’t care about flying under the radar. I may be flying under the radar but a lot of guys in the 205 weight class, they know what I’m capable of. Are a lot of them going to take a fight on short notice against me? Probably not.”