When UFC 124 arrives, it will be put up or shut up time for Sean McCorkle. At least from Stefan Struve’s perspective.
The Dutch heavyweight is scheduled to face McCorkle on the event’s main card. Typically, Struve is a respectful individual. He cares not to get into a verbal war with someone prior to a fight he might have with them, but McCorkle is quite the opposite.
With the use of social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, McCorkle has taken every opportunity to bash the young mixed martial artist. Some posts have been a little too explicit to repeat.
Mind you, talk is just talk. The pre-fight mudslinging is all part of the game that is played in this sport; some sling mud, while others tend to just watch the mud be hurled in every direction. For Struve, he tends to keep quite, choosing to put most of his focus on the preparation for the fight rather than the selling of it through verbal dueling on the Internet.
Don’t think for a moment, however, that he doesn’t have an opinion about his UFC 124 foe.
“I don’t really care about him,” Struve said when asked about Mccorkle. “I don’t like him.”
Simply put, Stefan Struve sees the Internet bashing as a waste of energy. To him, Mccorkle is free to do what he wants, but it won’t necessarily mirror the time Struve chooses to spend in his everyday regimen.
“To me, I don’t think he has much of a personal life,” he said. “I train like two or three times a day. When I get back home, I want to hang out with my friends and family.
“I’m busy with my job all day long, but If he wants to get on the Internet and put stuff on there, that’s fine. Good for him.”
The classic argument about size versus skill tends to linger in the heavyweight ranks of mixed martial arts. Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez had their turn to prove which would conquer which last month. Velasquez ended up pulling out the victory to become the new heavyweight champion, and in doing so, he showed that superior boxing held more weight than 265 pounds of muscle.
To a lesser extent, Struve and McCorkle have a bit of a size difference. Struve fights around 245 pounds, while McCorkle fights closer to the division limit of 265 pounds. The weight difference is something that is recognized by Struve, but not necessarily an attribute to worry about.
The experience factor is where he feels he holds the edge in this contest. Struve has a lot more fighting experience than your typical 22-year-old MMA fighter; nearly 30 fights, in comparison to McCorkle’s 10.
“That’s three times the fights that he has,” he said. “I think I’m a better fighter on the feet, I think I’m a better fighter on the ground. He may be a little heavier, he may be a little (stronger), but I don’t care about that. It’s all about technique.”
Prior to being signed to fight on the UFC 124 main card, Struve was coming off a win over Christian Morecraft at UFC 117 in Oakland, Calif. People talk about big wins, but there couldn’t be a better description for the victory Struve collected that night in Northern California.
Being awarded the “Knockout of the Night” bonus was a huge gain in stock for Struve, especially since the fight was on the undercard. The combination of that with a loss in his fight prior to UFC 117 made for the motivation to give a great performance. An outstanding show usually calls for an extended tenure in one’s job. If the boss notices his worker producing results, the employee will get the pay day.
Struve produced results in Oakland against Morecraft.
“I lost a fight before that, so I needed a win to secure my job and get back on a winning track,” he said. “He beat me up pretty bad in the first round and I walked back to my corner and my trainer was like, ‘shut up and start fighting. Do what you do best, stand up, throw your combinations and we’ll see where it ends. You’re not gonna quit.’ When my trainer tells me something like that, I listen.
“When I knocked him out, it felt really, really good.”
That great feeling he had was mainly during the post-fight moments. Prior to the bout, the feeling was more like vomit. Struve claims he was ill before his bout with Morecraft and dealt with nausea in the moments before the Oakland crowd was let into Oracle Arena. Luckily for him, he persevered and worked through the exhaustion to get the win.
“An hour before the fight, I got sick, I threw up, I got dizzy,” Struve said. “I was doing my thing, but the last three minutes of the first round, I had no energy left.”
In the end, he caught Morecraft with the combination that lead to his “Knockout of the Night” bonus. It was the perfect way to remedy whatever illness his body was containing for that night.
“I caught him with a big combination and I knocked him out,” he said.
With 30 fights under his belt, Struve plans on fighting for a least another 15 years. He’s fought, on average, five times a year since turning pro six years ago. If he keeps that pace, he’ll end up fighting 105 fights by the time he calls it a career.
Will Stefan Struve still fight in the UFC by that time? In a joking manner, he said, “It depends on how fast (the) UFC will grow and how much money I’m gonna make!”