UFC heavyweight veteran Struve announces retirement from MMA

Stefan Struve Jeff Chiu/AP

Popular heavyweight Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve announced his retirement from mixed martial arts this week after more than 12 years competing in the UFC.

The seven-foot Beverwijk, Netherlands native had lost five of his past six fights dating back to 2017 and had been dealing with some health issues, including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo since the middle of last year.

Struve made his UFC debut three days after his 21st birthday and accumulated a 13-11 record inside the Octagon highlighted by wins over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Silva and reigning heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.

The 33-year-old also suffered knockout losses to powerful strikers Junior dos Santos, Roy Nelson, Travis Browne, Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem, Alexander Volkov, Ben Rothwell and Tai Tuivasa.

“I cannot do this anymore,” Struve told MMAFighting. “Physically, I cannot get ready for a fight the way I want anymore. The way I need to get ready and mentally that has become really tough. But as I said, I’m really looking forward to starting a new chapter. I’ve been doing this since I was 17 years old and I never tried something different so I’m looking forward to starting something new. Become successful with that.”

Struve finished his UFC career with eight post-fight performance bonuses and his 13 wins are sixth-most in UFC heavyweight history. His six submission victories are tied for second all-time in the weight class behind Frank Mir’s eight subs.

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