Stefan Struve wants to prove ‘rankings are bullshit’

UFCHIGHLIGHTED 01.09.2017 10:29h Author:


Holland’s Stefan Struve is to make his first headliner in his home country next weekend at UFC 115 Rotterdam. His opponent will be Alexander Volkov, but Struve hopes this win will secure him a title bout with Stipe Miočić whose future is uncertain.

Heavyweight champion Stipe Miočić first called out boxing champ Anothony Joshua, but this bout is not likely to happen. Now with Jon Jones out of the picture, things might get interesting for Stefan Struve, who already beat him in 2012.

“(A win) puts me right where I want to be,” Struve told MMAjunkie. “Especially because I have a win over the champ already. That’s interesting; that’s a storyline. He wants that fight back, of course, too. It’s the only blemish on his record – especially after he defended his belt against (Junior) Dos Santos.

“And then if you look at the rest of the guys: (Alistair) Overeem got knocked out fast. If you ask me what fight you’d rather see, me and Miocic or Overeem and Miocic, people are probably going to pick me, because that’s a different fight with a good storyline.

“(Ex-champ Cain Velasquez) hasn’t fought in like a year and a half. His last win was over Travis Browne – who’s a glimpse of his former self. (Ex-champ Fabricio Werdum) is fighting (Derrick) Lewis, (Francis) Ngannou doesn’t have a fight, but he’s not ready to fight for the belt, in my opinion. It could put me right there. So we’ll see, man.”

Not only did Struve beat Miocic – he scored a TKO over the then-undefeated current champ. Since their 2012 encounter, though, the two went on radically different paths: Miocic went on to win eight of his next nine bouts – including a title win and two defenses. Struve, in turn, went on to win half of his following six bouts – with scary health issues sprinkled in between.

“There were some real big issues I was dealing with, all at the same time,” Struve said. “That will leave a scar. It needs to heal. I was working very hard, but the only way to get where I am again is to really bite through that part you don’t want to bite through and keep going.

“Every single time that you don’t feel like (it), just keep on going where you’re going. Bad things happen again, you have a bad fight and all that. A lot of people, in my opinion, would have given up at some point. But I just kept going. Right now I get the reward for all of that.”

On Saturday, Struve (28-8 MMA, 12-6 UFC) looks to keep his momentum going at the expense of Volkov’s (28-6 MMA, 2-0 UFC). Currently ranked No. 13 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, Volkov brings in an unblemished, but short UFC record into the bout.

“Apparently, his two wins ranked him higher than everything I’ve done,” Struve said. “I had an injury and I’ve had a layoff a couple of years before that. But I’m not bothered by it.

“I feel good. It’s going to be good to be in the octagon with my crowd at home already, and get that energy in. It is what it is. He’s ranked No. 7, and I’ll show these rankings are bull(expletive) yet again.”