Longtime UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve scored an impressive come-from-behind submission over Marcos Rogerio de Lima (watch highlights here) in the co-main event of yesterday’s (Sat., February 23, 2019) UFC on ESPN+ 3 from the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.
The bout got Struve back on track following three straight defeats. But perhaps more importantly, it was also potentially the last fight for ‘The Skyscraper.’ While Struve wouldn’t commit to stepping down one hundred percent, he cited his heart condition as a motivating factor in his decision.
In a telltale sign for his career, he left his gloves in the Octagon. Struve detailed his decision at the UFC Prague post-fight press conference (via MMAjunkie), and ‘The Skyscraper’ seemed like a fighter who had made up his mind:
“I’m happy I never have to feel that tension again before the fight, and that only got worse after knowing about my heart. It was really hard to come back, but I’m not someone who shies away from a challenge.”
Stayed The Course
Struve spoke on his win over de Lima. He was hurt early and seemingly on his way to a fourth consecutive defeat. But after he was stunned by an early punch, he knew de Lima was tiring. When the first round ended, he believed the second frame would be his and it was:
“I didn’t know what happened,” Struve said. “I just stayed calm, and I felt him getting tired, and I knew the second round would be mine.”
He earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus for his effort, adding a nice bonus to a situation many fighters fail to obtain. that is winning their final fight, and he most definitely wanted to go out on a high note before he moved on to other things:
“I wanted to end on a good note. A whole life with lots of opportunity outside of fighting, which I can fully focus on right now,” he said. “I’m just going to be successful with something else.”
Finally ‘The Skyscraper’ spoke up about his heart issues, adding that he shouldn’t really be fighting the best unarmed martial artists any longer:
“If you look at it, I shouldn’t be fighting the best athletes in the world,” Struve said. “Normally it’s found when people are very young. You go to a doctor, and they hear a murmur, and you have it checked out. You’re on medication for your whole life, and you shouldn’t do anything dangerous, because you have a heart disease.”
Solid recognition from the longtime mainstay. He was once pulled from a bout against Matt Mitrione due to a panic attack in conjunction with his heart issues. The thought of it has understandably haunted him since.
So Struve has taken the intelligent path and retired, at least for now. We wish him all the best in his retirement.