Photo by Esther Lin for MMAFighting
UFC heavyweight contender, Stefan Struve, discusses his upcoming bout with Mark Hunt, his distaste for TRT, pink slip pressure, rankings and how a fight with Cain Velasquez might go.
Following the unexpected block of UFC cuts last week, it seems that most fighters on the roster are going hell bent for leather in hopes of avoiding the chopping block. A perfect example would be the fight between Dennis Bermudez and Matt Grice. The other side of that coin would be Brendan Schaub telling Lavar Johnson that he would keep their fight on the ground because 'I've got to win.' So, does a happy medium between the two extremes exist? Stefan Struve seems to think that there is, and feels that he's safe from harm's way, due to his current win streak and his fighting style, in general. I spoke with the Skyscraper recently, and got his thoughts on Black Wednesday, as well as the proposed stricter guidelines the UFC plans to enforce regarding TRT, and his upcoming bout with Mark Hunt at UFC on Fuel TV 8.
Top 10 rankings
It's great to be in there and to have people around the world recognize that I'm doing well. At the same time, I don't really care about it too much, because the only spot in those rankings that makes a difference to me is the number one spot. It's definitely good to be in there, because it shows that I'm getting closer to my goal with every fight. It's cool to see your name up there, for sure.
Getting to the number 1 contender spot
I think if end up with a five fight win streak with five finishes after this fight, I've got a really strong bid to be one of the top contenders, maybe even the top contender in the heavyweight division. I think I'll be close to the title shot by the end of this year and get it no later than the beginning of next year.
How a fight with Cain Velasquez might go down
Yeah, that'd be a badass fight. You know he's gonna come at you. You know he's gonna push the pace. You can wrestle him as much as you want, and I can wrestle for the rest of my life, But I will never be as good a wrestler as he is. I would, of course, try to stop him from taking me down, but I'm also not going to put too much energy in that, so if he wanted to take me down, I'd best make sure that I had good position on the ground, so that he has to work my guard. The thing is, he has to close the distance to take me down, and that means coming in close, so if I use my reach, and fight at my distance, fight my fight using the stand-up to my advantage. He might be in for a really tough night.
He didn't look as good as he normally does. He was on a great win streak, and he had a long layoff. Let's not forget that you have to give Bigfoot credit for beating Alistair. He deserves props for that, because he had a really good gameplan, he lasted him out, and really pushed the pace in the third round. It's really cool to see a fighter have a gameplan against a guy like Alistair, and still manage to bring it to perfection.
I noticed the difference in his physique. He looked a lot leaner in his fight with Brock (Lesnar). Maybe it's got something to do with the one year layoff, or whatever, but yeah, he definitely looked different.
I think that people should only be using vitamin supplements to get ready for fights. I don't think something like that (testosterone) should be allowed. It is cheating, in my opinion. I always tell my trainers and coaches that when the day comes that I need to use something like that to be able to compete at the highest level, like I'm doing right now, if that day comes, I think I'm going to quit.
I just think everybody should be clean. It's a sport, and to win, using all sorts of stuff like that, isn't really winning at all. That's how I see it. You don't even know what that stuff will do to your body 10 years down the road. Why use it?
Pink slip pressure
To be honest, I'm not worried about putting on a great fight, because I do that already. There's always pressure on you to perform, especially at this level. I honestly believe that I'm one of the best heavyweights in the world. I'm only 25 years old and I have a huge future ahead of me.
You don't have to be a genius to figure out that he's got heavy hands. I want to fight him at my own distance and range. As long as I do that, those heavy hands are not something I should worry about too much. We have a gameplan, and as long as I stick to it, this is my fight to win.
You can follow Stefan via his Twitter account, @StefanStruve