One of the few names emerging from the Ultimate Fighter Season 9 with all the tools necessary for a successful run in the UFC was Nick Osipczak, the 26-year old Brit who displayed not only well-rounded technique in the ring but an ability to offer mature, insightful, and often humorous commentary during show-related interviews.
After compiling a pair of wins in his first two Octagon appearances, Osipczak unfortunately dropped three hard-fought decisions, including those of a split variety against Duane Ludwig and Rick Story, resulting in his release from the company. However, simply because “Slick” Nick will draw his next promotional paycheck from an organization other than the UFC doesn’t mean his demeanor or attitude towards his future has been soured.
A professional card-player at one time, Osipczak knows you occasionally have to lose a few hands before winning the lot of chips. The 5-3 welterweight recently spoke about what his days as a gambler taught him, as well as his experience on TUF and in the UFC, in a conversation with Five Ounces of Pain.
Five Ounces: Looking back, how has your involvement on the Ultimate Fighter affected your career as it stands today? Is it something you would do again if you had the choice?
Nick Osipczak: It was a short-cut to the UFC and enabled me a lot of exposure which helped with sponsors. I wouldn’t do it again as in for the second time but I definitely made the right choice by doing it first time round.
5Oz: How would you describe your feelings the first time you stepped into the Octagon or how it felt to be a kid in his mid-twenties competing on cards featuring MMA icons like B.J. Penn and Randy Couture?
Osipczak: TUF also helped prepare me for fighting on the big shows because it’s the same Octagon and you have the cameras on you, so there are no outstanding memories for me regarding my first official UFC fight – I was too busy concentrating on my performance, although I did often think “How did I get to this stage where I’m fighting on the same card as these legends”. I never considered myself especially young, (since) there are plenty of successful MMA fighters in their early 20s.
5Oz: You made your UFC debut with only three professional fights under your belt. In retrospect, do you wish you’d had a bit more experience before entering the Octagon and do you feel that an overall lack of ring-time may have affected your run of performances there?
Osipczak: There will always be “ifs and buts” in hindsight, but I was offered an opportunity and I took it with no regrets. Of course, I am still getting better and if I had the same chance again further along in my career I’m sure I could have performed better.
5Oz: Though you may have fallen in your last few bouts, all were hard-fought and the result of decisions (two of which were split). Regardless of the ultimate outcomes, were you surprised to be released after such competitive showings, especially given how exciting your scrap with Ludwig was?
Osipczak: No, I wasn’t surprised. The UFC is very cutthroat when it comes to their roster, and even more so now the merger with the WEC.
5Oz: How has the change in promotional scenery affected you on a personal level, if at all?
Osipczak: Not at all, other than sometimes I can forget what a fortunate position I’m in!
5Oz: Any word on what’s next for you in terms of an upcoming fight? Have you spoken to other notable organizations since your release like Strikeforce and Bellator?
Osipczak: No word yet. I am currently spending my time teaching at my club, New Wave Academy, in London.
5Oz: Are you able to shine some light on your time as a professional gambler? What was your game/sport of choice? What was the most you ever won/lost?
Osipczak: Basically its all about discipline at the top level, knowing your game and sticking to good bets. There is no room for actually “gambling”, its all calculated bets where you are the favourite. as soon as you start mixing in the odd gamble here and there for entertainment’s sake you’re done for.
I mostly played Heads-Up Texas Hold Em towards the end of my gambling era, but originally I would bet on all sorts. I have endured swings of winning and losing thousands of pounds in a week many times.
5Oz: Today (12/30) is your birthday! Any special plans to celebrate or gifts you’re hoping for?
Osipczak: Just the usual drinks with the usual friends – I’m not big on celebrating birthdays, Christmas, NYE, etc, and I don’t need any gifts, especially from my girlfriend – that just puts pressure on me to get them something decent back!
5Oz: Before leaving, is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Osipczak: Thanks to cherryactive.co.uk and maximuscle.com, and check out slicknickmma.com for regular updates!
5Oz: Thanks for your time. Have a great birthday and NYE weekend. Best of luck in 2011!
PHOTO CREDIT – SlickNickMMA.com