may have shown up to his Dec. 17 Strikeforce
meeting with ex-champion Gegard
, but that doesn’t mean he showed his best.
Fifteen minutes after his combat with Mousasi had begun, ‘OSP’
watched as his highly-regarded foe’s hand was hoisted by referee
Steven Davis. St. Preux had at once been served with both the
toughest test of his career and his first in-cage setback since
The light heavyweight now returns to the cage on Saturday to take
“Rousey vs. Kaufman.” Though his unanimous decision defeat to
Mousasi came over six months ago, the prospect says he will carry
with him the lessons learned from that loss when he faces Cook at
the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, Calif.
“I'm better than I thought I was. I was more afraid of the mystique
of Mousasi than Mousasi himself. I was fighting the guy in my head
-- the K-1 star, the young legend, the Strikeforce light
heavyweight champ. I wasn't fighting the other guy in the cage
until the third round,” St. Preux recently told Sherdog.com. “I
regret not fighting to my potential, but would I change anything?
Absolutely not. I learned so much from that fight that will carry
me to bigger and better things. I'll give up one [win] to get the
experience that will earn me dozens.”
During that main card clash at “Melendez vs. Masvidal,” St. Preux
spent most of the first two rounds on his back before engineering a
surge of offense in the final frame. With three rounds of
competition against a world-class light heavyweight now under his
belt, St. Preux believes that were he and Mousasi to cross paths
again, a different story would be told in the cage.
“Mousasi didn't beat me on my feet. He didn't land any significant
strikes while standing up. He landed some good punches on the
ground in the first, and then it was downhill for him. [He was the
one] who pressed the fight to be a grappling match,” said St.
Preux. “If you watch [Georges St.
Pierre’s first fight with] Matt
Hughes, you'll see a very, very bad ‘GSP.’ Then watch [the
rematch, and you see a] totally different ‘GSP.’ It’s the same with
St. Preux says he has used the defeat both as motivation to improve
his skills and as a means of increasing his confidence in his
abilities when under the bright lights.
“If anything, [the loss] made me hungrier. I came out of the
Mousasi fight without a scratch, and his face looked like
hamburger, so what am I waiting for?” St. Preux said. “There isn't
a magic moment [when you know] you're good. No one ever tells you
you're elite. You just become good, and then you have to trust your
training. I went back to work. I had a pretty long layoff, so I
learned lots of new tricks.”
The light heavyweight says that his newly acquired knowledge will
be on full display and unmistakably evident when he steps into the
cage on Saturday night. St. Preux can even visualize the means by
which he will finish the fight.
“I plan on putting on a clinic. I've got more power in my striking,
[and] I'd like to show that off. If T.J. doesn't break immediately,
then you'll see some technical development,” said St. Preux. “If
he’s still standing after I pepper him with a 100 different strikes
from 100 different angles, expect a brutal takedown, some nasty
ground-and-pound and then a new signature submission. I'm gonna do
so much work in this fight that Strikeforce will have to implement
[post-fight] bonuses immediately and then promptly give them all to
Exactly what that signature submission entails is still a mystery,
but St. Preux has made it crystal clear that he has taken his
preparation for this contest quite seriously. One might think that
after facing a former two-organization champion like Mousasi that
St. Preux could feel disappointed in fighting an opponent without
the same level of name recognition, but the former University of
Tennessee linebacker has taken the exact opposite stance.
“T.J. is a tough dude. No one gets to this level without being
good, but this is definitely my fight to lose. In boxing, they say
to treat a bum like a bum, and that's what I plan on doing,” said
St. Preux. “I plan on putting together a pyrotechnic display of MMA
shock-and-awe. If you only watch one fight on this card, watch
mine, because tomorrow everyone will be talking about the new move
that I invented.”
Should St. Preux follow through on his prediction and earn a
victory over Cook, the 29-year-old has no plans of slowing down. In
fact, if “OSP” has his way, Strikeforce fans will see him competing
for the light heavyweight championship on Showtime this winter.
“Give me anyone. Please give me Mousasi again; let me wreck him.
Then we can immediately schedule the rubber match for like a week
later, and I'll whip him again. At that point, they can just hand
me the belt, and I'll be a benevolent ruler watching over my light
heavyweight kingdom,” St. Preux said. “I'm tired of all this talk
about what to do with the light heavy weight division -- I'm what
to do with the division. I'm not on drugs. I'm not fragile. I'll
fight anyone, anywhere. [Did] anyone else do three televised fights
in seven weeks? Book me fights in September and October, [and then]
let me fight for the title in November. I'm begging. Give me more
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