Come Saturday, heavyweight Stefan Struve will be looking to earn contender status with a win over K-1 Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt. The Dutch finishing specialist has spun off four straight victories, all by stoppage in the first or second. His overall UFC career stands an impressive 6-3, defeating Christian Morecraft, Sean McCorkle, Pat Barry, Dave Herman, Lavar Johnson, and formerly undefeated Stipe Miocic.
“When I win this fight, and I finish this fight yet again, then I’m on a five-fight win streak with five finishes in the heavyweight division,” Struve says of his upcoming bout at UFC on FUEL 8. “Nobody else in the heavyweight division is on a five-fight win streak. I think I have a pretty strong bid to call myself No. 1 contender.”
“There’s a lot of different things that need to happen before you really can measure yourself with the top guys in the division. But I think we’re doing all the right things.
“People expect a little bit too much too soon. I was 21 when I signed my UFC contract. 21 for three days when I fought Junior dos Santos. What do you think happens when a 21-year-old enters the UFC? He’s not going to take the division by storm. He’s going to need his time to become a better fighter, become bigger and stronger, grow into his body.”
“Most heavyweights peak in their early thirties. So if you look it that way, I still have a couple years to go to become a lot better, bigger, stronger, whatever, still no rush. Although I feel like I can beat anybody in the world right now, and I feel like I can win a world championship.”
“I hear before all my fights that I’m not the favorite. Still now I read my Twitter to be in touch with my fans, and I get a lot of people saying, ‘He’s going to put you in a lawn chair,’ and whatever. ‘He’s going to knock your head into the third row.’ So was Pat Barry, so was Dave Herman. So was Lavar Johnson, and so was Stipe Miotic.
“People keep saying I’m going to get knocked out, and whatever, but I don’t care about it. I keep on showing that big strikers are not a problem anymore. They may have been at the beginning of my career, but not anymore.
“If this fight stays on the feet, and I fight smart, then it’s my fight to win. And I have a good chance to knock Mark out.”