I heard you recently crossed the 7-foot mark. Are you still growing?
It’s true. Now, I am 7-feet tall and still getting a lot heavier. That is the biggest thing for me right now—getting heavier and putting on a lot more strength.
Does your height make it difficult to find comfortable yet stylish pieces of furniture to fill up your place?
That is not really a problem. It usually just comes down to what type of couch you want. If you look hard enough, you can find anything.
You’re 25 years old, what do you do outside of training to make sure you are still enjoying your youth?
Well, right now there is a bunch of snow in Holland, so there isn’t a lot to do here. I’m really focused on training, and when you are training, there isn’t a lot of time to do other things. When I’m not in training, I’m hanging out with friends and trying to do as many fun things as possible. But the weather isn’t good for that right now.
You have a big fight coming up against Mark Hunt in Japan. Having fought all over the world, what are you looking forward to in Japan?
It is going to be a first for me, and I’m excited about it. I’ve been to South Korea, and that isn’t too far from Japan, so I’ve already experienced what it is like to make that flight. I remember the jet lag not being too much of a problem back then. It is going to be a fun place to see and a good experience for sure. It’s going to be good to fight in front of the Japanese crowd. I’ve heard really good stories about their crowds. I’m looking forward to it.
Is it nice to not have to cut weight during fight week?
To be honest with you, for this fight and the fights that come after, I need to focus on my diet a little bit more because I’m getting heavier and heavier. It’s not a big deal right now. I train really hard and that automatically gets me down around the 265-pound mark.
Coming from the Netherlands, is there anything about the American culture that has taken you by surprise?
It is just something you have to experience for yourself. People all over the world are a little different, but I really like the culture in America. When I’m in the U.S., I spend a lot of time in L.A. It is a cool place, and I really like it over there. I have been fighting in the U.S. for the past three years, and I really enjoy it.
You started off your time in the Octagon fighting against monsters like Junior dos Santos and Roy Nelson. Do you think that experience ultimately helped you?
It’s been a good learning experience. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t want to change a thing because I’ve learned so much from the losses I’ve had. I don’t look at the Internet a lot, but it is funny to me when I hear things from my friends and training partners that people are online talking about how I don’t have a chin. It was never about having a bad chin. When you get hit clean in the heavyweight division, it is lights out. It was more about getting rid of those mistakes in my stand-up and making sure I don’t get hit like that anymore—making sure I don’t put myself in the position where my opponents can get that shot off on me. I’ve become a lot better as a fighter by learning from my mistakes.
What would you be doing with your life if you weren’t competing inside the cage?
That’s a hard one, man. I’ve been doing this since I was 16 years old. I’ve been fighting as long as I can remember, but if my career never happened, I’m sure I would still be doing something with sports.
What does an ideal 2013 look like for Stefan Struve?
It would start by knocking out Mark Hunt. Then another knockout over the next guy the UFC gives me, and a knockout over the champ. That would a great 2013, but we’ll see. I have a plan, and we’ll see how it all works out.
Can you help me understand why Europeans seem to like techno music as much as they do?
I think it’s because that music is part of our culture. Europe, and especially Holland, are places where those kind of parties started. It goes back a long time. I know they have had those parties in Holland for years.
Are you a dancer?
Give me a bottle of Bacardi and anything is possible.