Stefan Struve will never be accused of being too cocky going into any of his fights.
Despite 18 fights inside the Octagon against a who’s who list of heavyweights, Struve isn’t the type of athlete to downgrade an opponent or build himself up for the sake of promotion.
That being said, Struve isn’t opposed to stating facts and that’s why he’s so confident heading into his main event match-up against Alexander Volkov this weekend at UFC Fight Night 115 in his native Holland.
Struve has no doubt that he’s got the experience edge over Volkov, not to mention skill for skill. He just knows that he’s better than anyone the Russian born heavyweight has faced or defeated in his career.
“I think I’m the best fighter that he’s faced in his career,” Struve told MMAWeekly.com. “I think also headlining a card is going to be new for him. I’ve already headlined a card against the current champion. So I know how that feels. I’m going to be at home so I’m going to be very relaxed.
“I think I’m the best fighter and the most complete well-rounded fighter he’s fought. That will show during fight time.”
Looking at his two fights in the UFC, Struve believes that Volkov should have lost in his debut against Timothy Johnson and he’s not sure that touting a win over Roy Nelson at this stage in his career is a huge accomplishment either.
“I’m a different opponent than anybody he’s faced in his last four fights,” Struve explained. “He’s a talented fighter. He was in Bellator, he became champion there, but he lost his belt pretty fast. He’s a good fighter, but I believe that I’m better wherever this fight takes place. I believe he’s a good, technical striker, but when I turn up the heat and start walking him down and really throwing, he’ll realize this isn’t Timothy Johnson or Roy Nelson chasing you down.
“Roy Nelson isn’t the same fighter he once was in my opinion. No offense, but he’s 40 years old. A win over him doesn’t really tell me nothing. When I watch that fight there’s a lot of holes and openings but Roy really wasn’t able to do anything with them. He did land a couple good shots but with my power, my strength and my reach behind it, it’s going to be a completely different story.”
Perhaps the biggest discrepancy between the two fighters in Struve’s mind comes down to how they match-up on the ground.
Struve has the second most submission attempts in the history of the UFC heavyweight division and he’s just not sure that Volkov will be able to survive with him once the fight hits the floor.
“I believe that when I take this fight to the ground, just like all his other opponents did in his last six fights, every time he was taken down, he was in trouble,” Struve said.
“When I take him down, it’s a whole different world cause I’m a much better grappler. I go for the kill every single time. When I get the possibility and the opening for a submission, I make the most of it. It’s going to be an exciting fight.”