UFC Vegas 9: Ovince Saint Preux Believes Jon Jones Will Do Well at Heavyweight, If He Avoids Their Power

When Ovince Saint Preux hits the scales on Friday morning, it will be his second cut to 205lbs in two weeks. The light heavyweight and opponent Alonzo Menifield had been expected to serve as the co-main event at UFC Vegas 7 back on August 22. A case of COVID-19, however, saw “OSP” pulled from the card just prior to the event getting started, after his final test for the coronavirus came back positive.

Saint Preux knew he’d contracted the virus earlier this Summer. He was thought to be over it, but clearly that wasn’t the case. Throughout it all, he told media outlets including Cageside Press at the UFC Vegas 9 media day on Wednesday, he hasn’t been stressing over it. And to this day, he’s not 100% sure how he contracted the disease.

“I really don’t [know],” Saint Pruex admitted. “To be honest I tell people, you can’t play it safe in the fight game. Just because you’ve got to be around people. If you’ve got a fight coming up, either you’re going to tiptoe on eggshells and play it safe and be like ‘oh I don’t want to catch COVID,’ or you’ve just got to be out there  — my mentality was ‘eff it!’ Just because at the end of the day the way things are looking, there’s going to be a point in time where everybody gets it.”

Whether the virus becomes that widespread, and mankind normalizes it the way the flu has been, remains to be seen. But OSP revealed he actually hoped he’d catch the virus earlier, just to get it out of the way.

“I made sure I took precautions and whatnot,” said Saint Preux, “but other than that, when I was in the gym, there’s no precautions in the gym. It’s almost impossible to do that.”

Saint Preux never did dwell on the seriousness of COVID-19 when he did have it. Mainly because he wasn’t showing any symptoms and didn’t even know he was sick initially. A close friend did wind up in the E.R. in an unrelated case, however, so he’s not about to take it lightly.

Still, after testing negative for the virus this week, he’s focused on Alonzo Menifield. The pair are now the co-main event of the card in Las Vegas this weekend. It’s a trip back to light heavyweight after a single fight at heavyweight, against Ben Rothwell.

OSP is back down. Former opponent Jon Jones is moving up, meanwhile. Asked about “Bones,” Saint Preux suggested that “he should do good [at heavyweight]. Jon’s got a good thing of luring people into the fourth and fifth round and wearing them out that way.”

“He’s got a lot of tools. He switches stances, he can confuse heavyweights, his wrestling is gonna be good with the heavyweights, his reach is going to be bigger than a lot of heavyweights,” continued Saint Preux. “The only thing he’s really go to watch out for is the power of the heavyweights, and the weight of the heavyweights too.”

As Saint Preux pointed out, trying to move a heavyweight is completely different from dealing with a light heavyweight who might have gained 20lbs back by fight night. After all, heavyweight goes all the way to 265lbs.

The absence of Jon Jones has blown the UFC’s light heavyweight division wide open. It’s a situation that creates new opportunities, but asked if the new landscape lights a fire under him, Saint Preux wavered.

“It does, but the thing about the fight game is, either a champ is going to vacate his title, or everybody is going to end up changing throughout the years. The 205lb division is one that didn’t change a lot, at all,” said Saint Preux. “I’m doing the same thing I’m always doing. One fight at a time.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 9 media day press scrum with Ovince Saint Preux above. The event takes place this Saturday, September 5 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV, airing live on ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).