Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (20-4) hails from the Netherlands and stands an enormous 6’11” and is currently the tallest fighter on the UFC roster.
At only 22 years old, Struve has put himself on the map as one of the UFC’s brightest heavyweight prospects with wins over Paul Buentello, Denis Stojnic and Chase Gormley.
This Saturday night, Struve will try to take another step up the heavyweight ranks when he meets Sean McCorkle in the co-main event for UFC 124.
With UFC 124 just days away, Struve spoke about his upcoming fight with McCorkle, and had some harsh words for Team Golden Glory, and spoke about having food poisoning prior to his Ultimate Fight Night 21 bout with Roy Nelson.
At just 22 years old, you’re 6’11”, what is in the water in the Netherlands that makes you get so big?
“I basically eat everything I see.”
I was wondering there isn’t a lot of info on where you train at and who your coaches are. I was wondering other than Bob Schrijber (who’s a big name in Europe), who all do you train with?
“Ah Bob Schrijber, he’s a legend of the sport, he’s fought over 137 fights and he’s a great coach, he’s got a lot of experience, and I still learn from him every day. We’ve got a couple of really good guys who are coming up that are waiting to make it to the big show in the next couple of years.”
“I train on a regular basis with the K-1 gyms like Chakuriki and the K-1 heavyweights so there are plenty of people to spar with in Holland. Sometimes I even spar with Gegard Mousasi, so plenty of people for me.”
Kickboxing seems to be big around the Netherlands, did you ever think of fighting for K-1?
“Yeah, kickboxing is really big in Holland, but I’m a better MMA fighter so I’ll just stick to MMA.”
How does it feel to be a part of the co-main event of the last UFC event of 2010?
“I’m not sure, it’s going to be co-main event, I hear different things. For me, that’s huge, it’s going to be a really big fight for me and I’m going to end 2010 the way I want it to be with a big bang.”
Also, with the success over the years the Golden Glory gym has had in Holland, I was wondering if you had ever thought of training there?
“Golden Glory isn’t really a team, they train together sometimes, but they’re more of a management team. I’ve got enough sparring partners, so I got no intention of going there too.”
For a big man, you’re more known for your brawling style instead of using your reach more and keeping your opponents on the outside. Why is this?
“I just like to fight, I don’t like to use my jab for three, five minute rounds. When I watch my fight back, I want to be proud of my fight. I just like to fight, I always want to be in an exciting fight, no boring fights for me.”
Coming from a kickboxing background you have 14 career submission wins. Who do you credit for having such a dangerous ground game?
“I’ve just been training in our own gym. We’ve got a group of guys who I’ve been training with since I was 14. I’ve been rolling around with big guys of 240 pounds since I was 14 years old and 185 pounds. So I learned how to manage myself with those guys, and basically I learned of everything I know from my own trainer”
What do you make of McCorkle’s trash talk?
“Not much, I don’t pay much attention to it. I don’t like him. “
There were some words from you on McCorkle before the fight; did McCorkle get under your skin at all?
“No, like I said I’m not paying to much attention to it. He got me kind of focused on my fight. In my training when I was tired, he kept me focused, it was good motivation for me.”
Did you see McCorkle’s last fight against Mark Hunt? And if so what was your impression?
“Yeah I saw it, it was a nice armbar. If a guy loses his last six fights and I believe his last three fights was by kimura, and you lose by kimura that pretty much says everything.”
In your last fight you had to go through a bit of adversity, but you won KO of the night honors against Christian Morecraft. What are your thoughts on that fight?
“It was a hard first round for me because a big part of that, I didn’t feel good. One part in the locker room, I threw up and I felt dizzy. The first few minutes of the fight went really good, but the last few minutes of the first round he beat me up because I had no energy left. I had no real energy left to do anything.
"Me and my trainer decided to go with everything I got into the second round and see where I would end up and I knocked him out.”
Did you feel you were unprepared for that fight?
“No, no, I felt my preparation was really good I think it’s the nerves that got to me in the locker room. I lost a lot of energy because of that.”
Do you feel any nerves for this fight?
“No, not really, a big part of that was the fight with Roy Nelson, the fight before the fight with Morecraft, I had food poisoning the day of the fight. I was afraid of something like that would happen again and it got to my nerves I think.”
How long were you sick with food poisoning?
“I was sick an hour to an hour and a half before the fight, and after fifteen minutes I felt better. I took a shake with protein, with carbs, and everything I needed to get some energy back, but of course it isn’t perfect. You know it happened, I learned from it, it was a good experience. I learned from it, for the future.”
What were you eating that lead to that?
“I eat lots of proteins, lots of vegetables, no weird things. For the fight with Nelson, we ate at a Thai place and we ate there all week. We had chicken and stuff like that, and the day of the fight the food wasn’t good. These things happen, you know.”
I’m glad you’re better now.
“Let’s hope I don’t encounter food poisoning the day before the fight.”
Do you have anything you’d like to say in closing?
“I just want to thank my sponsors, my fans, my friends, my family, and my trainers and management team for helping me prepare for this fight for the fans in Montreal for one hell of an exciting fight.”