Last Saturday, on the main card of UFC 204, seven-foot Dutch heavyweight Stefan Struve became the first fighter ever to stop Daniel Omielanczuk. He accomplished this feat with a beautiful, second round D’arce choke.
With the win, Struve extended his win-streak to two, having levelled Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in just 16 seconds in his second most recent bout. Considering it wasn’t all that long ago that the towering Dutchman was neck deep in a rough 1-3 skid, and battling possibly career-ending heart condition, his current streak has got to feel pretty good.
Now that he’s regained his footing in the ever-competitive heavyweight division, Struve is ready make another climb up the divisional rankings. It should come as no surprise that he’s particularly interested in a fight with reigning champion Stipe Miocic.
Struve’s call for a fight with Miocic, however, has quite a bit of merit to it. A quick look at the history books reveals that he handed Miocic the first defeat of his career back in 2012, winning via second-round TKO. Today, Struve remains one of just two men to defeat Miocic, along with Junior Dos Santos, who bested Miocic in competitive, five-round war back in 2014.
“I know a certain someone who’s ranked number one in the world right now with a belt,” Struve told MMAJunkie.com in the hours after his UFC 204 win. “I think [Miocic] would like to have that rematch too.”
As a realist, however, Struve understands that he probably hasn’t earned a heavyweight title shot just yet – whether he holds a win over the current champ or not.
“I need a big win to get that,” he explained. “I would love that fight, of course, but I need another win.”
“I don’t really care about those rankings,” Struve continued, weighing in on his next move. “But we’ll see. I’m definitely going up. I want a higher-ranked guy than I just fought. And I want to work my way up, back up to where I belong. We’ll see what the UFC has got in store for us.”
While the massive Dutchman is correct that he’s probably got some work to do before earning a crack at the title, there’s also a good chance he’s correct in assuming Miocic would be interested in a rematch.
Not long ago, the heavyweight champ took to Instagram to express his admiration for Struve, and explain that his loss to the Dutchman was one of the most fruitful learning experiences of his incredible career.
How about a little Throw Back Thursday? It was right around this moment that I thought…”Did this dude seriously just kick me in the face from all the way over there?” And yeah he really did kick me in the face from all the way over there. I probably learned more from this loss than all my wins combined. Took me a while to get over this one too. But it might be one of the best things that ever happened in my career. I’ve always gotten along with my opponents after fights. But I think I root for @stefan_struve a little bit more than the rest. He is one of the nicest, classiest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s been through a lot the last few years so it’s awesome to see him competing again. Always rooting for you big fella. #tbt #ufc #skyscraper #strongstyle
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