Struve meets Dave Herman in Wednesday’s co-main event
With 10 UFC fights under his belt, it’s easy to forget Dutch “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve is still in the early stages of his mixed martial arts career.
When he steps in to face Dave Herman this week in Omaha, Neb., the fight will come just a few days shy of his 24th birthday. And while championship gold and fulfilling potential are marks on his radar, continued progress and development are the two most important factors in the here and now.
“My striking is an area I’ve concentrated on, and adding more weight definitely factors into that,” Struve said. “I’ve been adding weight, but we wanted to make sure I do it the right way. It’s important to have a good strength and conditioning coach because there is a right way to put it on. You don’t want to put on weight too fast. I’ve been gaining 10 or 12 pounds between fights, and I’m going to have to cut down to 265 pounds for this fight.
“I want to keep it going and put on a show for everyone. There is a lot more power now in my punches and kicks. I have good distance and having more power will only add to that advantage. I have a new coach I have been working with, and things are really coming together for me in that department.”
During his time in the UFC, Struve has traded leather with some of the division’s best. Throughout that journey, there have been some pitfalls – but Struve has always bounced back in impressive fashion. After posting a victory over Pat Barry, he is once again looking to build momentum and feels the weight class has never been more competitive. It is the perfect scenario for Struve, as he believes he is hitting his stride at the right moment.
“This is going to be the best Stefan Struve anyone has ever seen,” he said. “The training camp for these last two fights have been great and I really feel as if everything is coming together. I think with every fight you go through you become less nervous and that experience makes you a better fighter. You get used to it. This will be my 32nd professional fight, and now I know what to do and how to adjust to the things leading up to the fight. It’s a huge benefit for me. I’m getting stronger with every single fight, and people are going to see the best version of me on Wednesday night.
“I think the division is better than it’s ever been. We have Fabricio Werdum back, and he just had a really good fight against Roy Nelson. There are good fighters from Strikeforce coming over, and we have a lot of really good guys already in the UFC. The only thing effecting most of these guys is they aren’t getting any younger. There are a lot of guys who are fighting now in their mid-30’s and it’s just a question of how long some of them can keep competing.”
In order to keep things moving in the right direction, Struve will need to find a way to defeat Herman in Wednesday night’s co-main event. Herman has a history of mixing it up and throwing caution to the wind. He has confidence in his chin and the power his punches posses. If Struve can avoid getting caught up in a dust-up, he believes he’ll have every advantage in the matchup – especially if the fight hits the canvas, where Struve believes he can change Herman’s mind about the effectiveness of jiu-jitsu.
“Everybody knows how to work BJJ now because every fighter has a good coach for it they work with,” Struve said. “What makes it different with every fighter is how you set your submissions up. Especially with me because my arms are very long and I have a lot of leverage. The way I set things up is much different from other fighters.
“With fighting Herman I have to make sure I don’t get drawn out into a brawl. That is what he likes to do and that’s how he likes to fight. If I stay out of that situation I don’t see any other way I lose this fight. I can use my distance to pick him apart. If he can’t reach me and wants to go to the ground, that’s my world too. I have a really good guard and a solid top game. I’ve been working really hard on my top game and I’m really confident in all of my skills for this fight.”