Stefan Struve close to UFC return: 'Nothing changed since I've been out, but things are going to change when I'm back'

Photo by Esther Lin

In this interview with BloodyElbow.com, Stefan Struve talks about returning from his heart condition, the state of the UFC heavyweight division, and the prospect of Jon Jones moving up in weight.

Late last year, UFC heavyweight contender Stefan Struve was diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart. The medical condition didn't require surgery, and treatment for the medical condition has been progressing very well.

"I've been back in training since September. I've just had to run tests with the doctors. As it is, right now it's looking really good," Struve told Bloody Elbow in Macau, "I'm hoping to come back in a couple of months."

The 26-year-old fighter has recently received good news from the doctors. He has been cleared to train without restrictions, making a UFC return well within his sights.

"Early summer hopefully," Struve states as he talks about his return, "I'm in shape, so I could fight in two or three months. As it is right now, My body is functioning better than it has ever been."

"I've been basically fighting at 60 to 70 percent my entire career in the UFC. So if you look at my record, 9-4, and you look at me fighting at 60 to 70 percent, then that's pretty good in my opinion. Now I'm over 90% of heart function so I'm coming back better than ever!"

Struve has been out of competition since he fought Mark Hunt in Japan, and he gave his thoughts on the heavyweight landscape during this time away.

"Not a lot has changed since I've been out for a year. I don't think anything changed to be honest with you," Struve states, as he talks about the state of the division, "Cain Velasquez is the number 1 guy. Right now, Junior Dos Santos is the clear 2nd. Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum are going to see who is going to get the next title shot. Travis is doing really good, but Werdum is going to take him past the first round and really test him."

"They've been signing a lot of new talent for the heavyweight division lately, but looking at those guys, I don't really think there's one guy there that is really special, that can really do something at the top 10."

Top contenders such as Daniel Cormier have since left the division and new recruits have yet to make their mark, but there potentially is a game changing fighter that can enter the division, with Jon Jones repeatedly saying he is targeting a future move to heavyweight. While Struve more than welcomes the idea, he feels that the champion's success at 205 will be much harder to replicate if he moves up.

"We saw what happened when he fought Gustafsson, and he didn't have that reach advantage, right? I think it's going to be a little different for him when he comes up to our division and fights guys that are bigger than him," he said, "A lot will be gone. He's still a really really good fighter, but he's not going to be the bigger guy anymore, so it takes a way a lot from the game he has now."

Related: Stefan Struve, other UFC fighter talk about TRT ban, and new Lyoto Machida vs. Chris Weidman title shot

With Struve's imminent return, a much healthier 'Skyscraper' is now out to put the rest of the division on notice.

"I'm making a run, and I'm picking up where I left off when I knocked out Stipe Miocic," he said about his immediate goals, "I'll make a run, then fight for the belt."

"Not a whole lot has changed since I've been out, but things are going to change when I'm back."

Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker