Stefan Struve wants to fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira next, but the heavyweight will have to wait a while for an opportunity to battle the legend, assuming the UFC tries to sign the match-up. Recently it was revealed that Nogueira had to undergo surgery to repair ligaments that were damaged in his arm, during his armbar submission loss to Fabricio Werdum at UFC on FUEL TV 10. Although the surgery reportedly went well, and it was initially believed Nogueira would need around eight weeks to recover, apparently it’s going to be a bit longer.

According to Nogueira’s manager, Ed Soares, the 37 year-old vet has been told he cannot begin training for at least three months. Soares informed MMA of the timeline. So, if you factor in the time “Big Nog” would need for a full training camp after he’s ready to return, then he probably won’t be able to fight until late 2013. That’s best case scenario.

That said, Struve did relay to Nogueira via Twitter recently that “I’m waiting for you”, and when asked a follow up question regarding when he’d like the fight to take place, the “Skyscraper” said it didn’t matter and that he just wants the fight to happen.

Struve (25-6) hasn’t fought since March when he was stopped by Mark Hunt at UFC on FUEL TV 8, and had his jaw broken in the process. Prior to the loss the massive heavyweight had won four straight, which included wins over Stipe Miocic, Pat Barry, Lavar Johnson, and Dave Herman. If he waits for Nogueira, he will have spent a fair bit of time on  the sidelines.

Despite Nogueira’s (34-8-1) recent loss, and subsequent surgery, the good news for “Big Nog” fans is that the former PRIDE champ has no plans to retire. Soares added in the aforementioned report that his client “is still a top 10 heavyweight in the world.” Prior to facing Werdum, Nogueira tapped out Herman with a second round, armbar at UFC 153 last October.

Stay tuned to Caged Insider for more on this story as it develops and all your UFC news.