Stefan Struve does not hide his admiration of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The Dutch giant, coming off a loss to Mark Hunt at UFC Japan in March, sees the fight against “Big Nog” as a great chance for redemption.
The 25-year-old fighter said that when he was a kid, he liked to watch his idol beating opponents in Pride, and just thinking about those fights thrills him.
Earlier this week on GRACIEMAG.com’s “Choke MMA Show,” Struve talked about the respect he has for Minotauro, the strategy to beat the legend, in addition to what caused him to falter in his last fight.
“We’ve wanted this fight for a while now,” Struve said. “I think we’ve been talking about this fight for about two years. He’s one of my favorite fighters. I remember watching him when I was about 11 years old, so it’s unreal to be here now and be like, let’s get a fight with him. In my opinion, I didn’t really call him out … I think people need to see it in this perspective: If you want to fight in this sport, then you have to go out there and ask for it. Most of the time you’ll get it when the fans like it, when the UFC likes it and the other guy likes it. Big Nog said that he loved the fight and I told him to sign the contract. I’m waiting for him.”
When asked how he saw himself winning in a fight with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, the Dutchman admitted that he should stay away from Nogueira’s strengths.
“Don’t get caught in a grappling fight, stay away from his submissions,” he explained. “I think if I do that, then I have a really good shot at winning the fight.”
Struve recently went on vacation in Los Angeles. While there, the fighter took some time to train with former UFC heavyweight and current MMA coach Antoni Hardonk.
Hardonk, who like Struve, is also from Holland, discussed Struve’s fight with Big Nog and said the former Pride champion has flaws that can be taken advantage of.
“When I see a guy like Big Nog, I see an amazing fighter, but he uses a lot of boxing. That gives him some holes in his game,” Hardonk said. “So I think that the young fighters like Stefan … can really take advantage of that.”
And you, readers, what do you think? Will this heavyweight fight happen? Let us know in the comment section.