At 24 years of age, most people are graduating from college and looking for that elusive first real job. For Stefan Struve, he's about to have his 34th professional fight this Saturday.
Struve will have his first shot as the main event of a UFC card, as he will be squaring off against the undefeated Stipe Miocic this Saturday at UFC on Fuel 5 in Nottingham, England. You can watch the preliminary portion of the card on Facebook at 1:30 PM ET, with the main card starting at 4 PM ET.
The 11-fight UFC veteran from Beverwijk in the Netherlands, who normally has to fly into the United States early to prepare for his fights and get used to the time difference, doesn't have to worry this time about that. It is only about a 50 minute flight to England, and Struve enjoys that aspect of fighting close to home.
"It's perfect," Struve told Bleacher Report. "I love it. It's been a few years since I fought in Europe (UFC 99 vs Denis Stojnic in Cologne,Germany). I cannot wait to perform once again over there. I love the U.K. I fought a bunch of times over there before I got into the UFC. It's going to be an amazing show."
After suffering a loss to Travis Browne at UFC 130 in May of 2011, Struve has won three straight, all by stoppage. He has attributed this recent success to a variety of things, and he has his sights set on the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
"My success as of late is due to hard work, working with the right people, having the right attitude, training hard every single day and believing in myself," Struve stated. "I believe that I will become the champion in a few years, if not sooner. If you work hard enough and you believe in yourself, you can reach any goal you want."
Struve will face a tough test in the undefeated Miocic, but he saw some holes in Miocic's game when he faced off against Shane Del Rosario at UFC 146 in May. Struve feels he is Miocic's toughest test to date and will pose more problems than Del Rosario.
"I think Shane gave him a really tough fight," Struve stated. "Shane's a kickboxer and I think with my skills, I could give him an even tougher fight. I train with some of the best kickboxers in the world every single week. If you can compete with those guys in the gym, then I think you can do well against anybody in the Octagon standing up.
"He (Miocic) took Shane down and it looked like Shane didn't know what to do. I think that if Stipe takes me down, he's in real trouble. I'm going to work my open and closed guard. I'm going to try and submit him from every single angle. I'm going to give him his toughest fight to date. I want to make sure he's 9-1 after Saturday."
This is the first main event in the UFC for Struve. He plans on showing the world the improvements he's made in his game and why he belongs on this stage; Struve feels that with a victory, it will get him one step closer to a title shot.
"I think I really need to show that I'm improving, still getting better and stronger every single fight," Struve stated. "I'm climbing the ladder step by step. I think being in a main event fight shows that next logical step.
"I feel a victory would bring me close to the top five in the division. We'll see what happens Saturday. I plan to win and then we will see who the UFC has for me next. If I keep on winning, a title shot will come in the next couple of fights."
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