Stefan Struve Looks For A Spring 2014 Return, Notes Huge Improvement To Heart Condition

January 14, 2014 6:18 am by Jim Chadwick

Usually, when a professional fighter is told that he has an enlarged heart and a leaking aortic valve, they are facing the end of their professional career.

That’s exactly what UFC heavyweight contender Stefan Struve was confronted with, early last year. And although Struve remained optimistic throughout this ordeal, others – like UFC President Dana White – did not share in his optimism.

Well, it seems that Struve has proved those skeptics wrong.

According to the colossal Swede – who appeared on “The MMA Hour” earlier today – the leaking in his heart has gone down dramatically, and if he wanted to fight, his attending physician would clear him without issue, and without hesitation.

Here’s a quote from Struve’s interview:

Everything went really well. Everything was where the doctor wanted it to be. As it is right now, my heart is still bigger than the heart of a normal human being. Half of that is because I’m as tall as I am and the other because I’m an athlete and my size adapted to the size it had to be to adapt to my body. If I would have had that alone, it would be no problem. But, I was born with it and the leaking aortic valve. If you go long without being treated, then it can become a danger. The main thing you notice with this condition is your cardio output. When they first discovered it, the leakage was about 30 to 40 percent and right now it’s about maybe 10 percent or less. It’s really good and I asked the doctor the question: ‘Right now, if you had to clear me right now for a fight, would you clear me?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, of course. The amount of leakage you have right now, you shouldn’t be able to feel anything with it.’”

Struve went on to say that his last UFC loss – a highlight reel knockout at the (cinderblock) hands of Mark Hunt on FUEL TV 8 last March – can be largely connected to his condition, which caused him to fatigue before even stepping into the Octagon.

And now? Well, According to Stefan, he’s been putting himself through five-round sparring sessions and feels fantastic, with no fatigue issues to speak of. Which is incredible to hear.

Next on Struve’s agenda is a meeting with his doctor in the Netherlands, followed by a trip to Los Angeles, California, to get a second opinion. And if all goes well?  We can look for Struve’s return to the cage as early as four months from now.

A personal note, to close out this article – I couldn’t be happier for Stefan Struve. Like many athletes, he eats, sleeps and breathes the sport in which he competes, and to see his career come to a close at the tender age of 25 would have been just terrible. I’m ecstatic to see him on the road to his Octagon return, and I’ll be cheering for him when he finally walks back through that gate.

No matter who the UFC puts in front of him, he’s clearly already won.

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