Ovince Saint Preux is a long-time UFC light heavyweight contender, but his next fight will occur in the promotion’s heavyweight division.
The former interim light heavyweight title challenger will step up a division to battle Ben Rothwell on May 13. The decision to accept this fight came after his planned fights with Shamil Gamzatov and Ion Cutelaba fell through due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was supposed to fight him last week on the 25th, but that (fell) through,” Saint Preux recently told MMA Junkie. “For some reason, I was thinking to myself that I knew for some reason they were going to call me for a heavyweight fight.
“… I don’t choose my fights. My head trainer, Eric Turner, always chooses the fights. He does more of the contact with my manager Oren (Hodak),” Saint Preux added. “Oren told him, ‘Hey, look: (Ben) Rothwell lost his opponent.’ Eric was like, ‘Yeah that’s a good matchup for us.’”
Against Rothwell, who is one of the biggest heavyweights on the UFC roster, Saint Preux expects to be outweighed by close to 40 pounds.
“In the beginning of April, I was walking around 227 or 226,” Saint Preux said. “The weight cut was going to be no problem. Now, I’m probably sitting around 230, 232. When fight time comes around, if I carb load, I might be around 235, 236 – around there.
“… It will definitely be a different experience just for the simple fact of the size and stuff. Typically when I enter the cage, I’m usually the bigger fighter. There were only a couple occasions where I wasn’t. If I’m not the bigger fighter, I usually feel like the stronger fighter. It’s just going to be a lot different this time. With him cutting down to 265, the next day he might be 275 or almost 280. I’m going to have to stay on my wheels. … If I avoid the big shots, I think I’ll be OK.”
While Ovince Saint Preux seems excited about this unique challenge, he doesn’t intend to stay at heavyweight.
“It’s definitely not permanent,” Saint Preux said. “If there’s an opportunity for me to bounce up and down, I’ll definitely do that.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 5/1/2020.