It took just 15 minutes for Strikeforce light-heavyweight Ovince St. Preux to go from relative unknown to one of the promotion’s premier up and coming fighters.
A late addition to Strikeforce’s Dec. 4 event last year, St. Preux dominated veteran Benji Radach en route to a unanimous decision victory, officially putting him on the map.
“I was definitely nervous going into that fight because of the experience level,” admitted St. Preux. “He definitely had more experience than I had. I feel like I did exceptionally well, so I can’t complain.”
St. Preux’s athleticism and additions he’s made to his game this past year, easily helped him get past a visibly rusty Radach.
“I think the biggest (improvement I’ve made) this year was probably ending up working with a really good strength and conditioning coach (in) Nate Hoffmeister,” St. Preux told MMAWeekly.com.
“Working with him made my cardio a lot better, I’ve gotten a lot faster, and combined with working with my head trainer, Eric Turner, has escalated me to becoming a better fighter.”
When asked what it is like to now be the hunted instead of the hunter and having fighters coming after him to make a name, St. Preux insists he will not become content in his new role.
“I was in a similar situation (not too long ago),” he stated. “I had to prove myself against certain people like Benji and even Antwain (Britt). I definitely have a lot of confidence in what I’m doing to get the job done and whatnot.
“I’m definitely not going to go in there and roll over for somebody. I’m going to work hard and come out on top. With my background and where I come from, you’ve got to stay hungry, because if you don’t, you won’t get anywhere.”
St. Preux’s first test of the year comes at Strikeforce Challengers 13 on Friday night when he takes on Ron “Abongo” Humphrey in what should be his toughest test to date. The bout will air as part of the event’s main card on Showtime.
“You’re definitely going to see an exciting fight,” commented St. Preux. “The fans are going to get their money’s worth. He’s a well-rounded guy and he’s fought Brett Rodgers and Mike Kyle at heavyweight, but like I said, I’m confident in my ability and I’m ready to fight.”
Having achieved the goals he set for himself last year, it could be a big year for St. Preux should he do the same in 2011.
“2010 was the year I wanted to get my record up to par. I did. I wanted to sign with a major company. I did. And 2011 is going to be the year where I want people to know to my name and hopefully towards the end of the year fight for the title.”