In terms of his height Stefan ‘Skyscraper’ Struve is a giant of the UFC’s heavyweight division.
Standing 6ft 11″ tall the 22 year-old towers over his opponents in the octagon, and has used that to his advantage to amass of 20-4 career record.
In terms of his weight though, it’s a different story. When he first entered the UFC he was one of the lighter competitors in the weight class, and spread across his long frame that left him at a significant disadvantage compared to some of the heavier, more compact fighters he was facing.
That was certainly the case when he met the current No.1 contender in the division Junior Dos Santos in his UFC debut back in February of 2009 and was TKO’d inside a minute.
“Well, I only turned 21 a few days before the fight,” Struve Recalls in a conversation with FightersOnly. “I was at 235 I believe and if you see these guys running round, well.. Dos Santos is a beast.”
Since then Struve has rebounded to produce a solid 4-2 record in the UFC with his other loss again coming to a much heavier opponent in Roy Nelson.
“I need more muscle and more power, but that will come in the next couple of years,” Struve says. “I would like to have a rematch with Roy and Dos Santos at some point in my career to see if I did improve. I am pretty sure I did. I want to go up to 290 to see what trouble I give them. Right now I weigh 255 so its going good.”
This steady weight gain over an extended period of time seems like a good idea, and if he does reach up into the region of 290lbs then he’s going to be an entirely proposition for the rest of the weight class than he was at 235lbs.
Of course gaining weight doesn’t always work out – Frank Mir gained in the region of 25lbs of muscle and was still smashed by Shane Carwin, but given Struve’s height and age he’s certainly got plenty of room to develop his physique.
In the mean time though he’s going to be facing another heavy opponent next – Sean McCorkle who emerged from relative obscurity on the regional circuit and cut down from 320lbs to 265lbs in order to make an impressive UFC debut at UFC 119, producing a quick win over PRIDE veteran Mark Hunt.
Despite going up against another heavier opponent Struve appears confident that on this occasion his skills and the superior competition he’s faced to date will negate the size difference between them.
“I’ve seen his fights before [he joined] the UFC and I am not impressed with his fights at all. He won against Mark Hunt but Mark Hunt had lost his last six fights, so… its like, you can go 40-0 by beating guys who are 5-40, you know? You can go on forever but now he is in the big league so he is in trouble.”
Struve takes on McCorkle next month at UFC 124 in Montreal.