UFC 146 heavyweight Stefan Struve is blogging on MMA Fighting in the leadup to his bout next Saturday. His first blog earlier this week was about his path to MMA and his admiration for then-opponent Mark Hunt. But the day after it was posted, Struve found out that Hunt was out of the bout with an injury and Lavar Johnson would be taking his place. This blog talks about finding out about that, and gives his thoughts on his new opponent.
First, the timeline on the shocking news:
The news arrived at a very funny and awkward time actually. I was at my girlfriend's place and we were looking for potential holidays after the fight. It was then that my manager sent me a text message telling me I needed to call him immediately because Mark Hunt was injured and out of the fight. At that moment I panicked, as I wasn't sure whether I'd still be fighting or not. I didn't want my whole training camp to go to waste. Luckily, I spoke with my manager and he told me Lavar had already been put in place as the stand-in opponent - I was delighted. It's a really cool fight.
He believes that Johnson is actually a better fight for him that The Super Samoan:
As it turned out, Lavar Johnson is every bit as exciting for me as Hunt was. Credit to him for stepping up to the plate. All in all, Lavar is a big, strong guy who likes to stand and punch, and he's also far easier to take down than Hunt. I truly believe Mark has better takedown defense than Lavar, and that makes it a fun fight for me.
He hopes that he can fight Hunt in the future:
Of course, it goes without saying, it would have been an absolute honor to fight Mark Hunt. I've been watching Mark's fights for years and was genuinely excited at the prospect of testing my skills against him. I hope he gets well soon and doesn't suffer too much as a result of the injury. It would be great to fight him at some point in the future and pick up where we left off. He's great for the sport and, so long as he can continue performing the way he's done recently, that man's going in the right direction.
Is Struve right when he says that Johnson is actually an easier fight than Hunt?