Stefan Struve will return from a year long lay-off at UFC 175, facing fellow big man Matt Mitrione and hoping to come back strong. ‘The Skyscraper’ had a scare in 2013 when doctors diagnosed him with a leaky heart valve. The Dutch kickboxer stayed focused, and looks to be coming back with a head of steam.
‘Meathead’ has been known to get under the skin of his opponents in the past, and Struve tells MMAWeekly just how he feels about Mitrione:
“In Macau, when Mitrione (last) fought, he was really interested (in my heart condition), so I explained to him what was going on and all that. So he knew where I was at. Then, a couple months later, even before I’m cleared to return to the Octagon, you tell Joe Silva that you want to fight me for my comeback fight?”
Mitrione has had beefs in the past with Tito Ortiz, Brendan Schaub, Fallon Fox and Dana White, but it seems that Struve has taken this one to heart. ‘Skyscraper’ continued:
“I wasn’t even cleared to fight yet. Everybody knew I was on the way up, things were looking good, but I wasn’t cleared yet,” said Struve. “Everybody knew that I had a heart issue and then you call up the matchmaker without knowing I’m cleared and then you ask for the fight? The only way you would do that is because you think you have a better chance of winning that fight. In my opinion, that really is pathetic and Matt Mitrione made this personal.”
“It’s just kind of pathetic. I would never do something like that,” said Struve. “Big mistake by him because I’m gonna absolutely show this guy.”
Struve’s first fight in over a year comes against a (possibly) resurging Mitrione. After losing to Cheick Kongo and Roy Nelson, MM managed to get a knockout win over Phil de Fries, only to dip back in to the loss column against Brendan Schaub. His most recent outing was a nasty first round knockout over Shawn Jordan in Macau, which earned Mitrione performance of the night.
Struve’s last showing was a brutal knockout loss to Mark Hunt, during which the big Dutchman had his jaw broke. He’ll look to put that loss, and his potentially career ending health scare behind him, as he gears up for his long-awaited return at UFC 175.