Stefan Struve delays retirement plans, returns against Ben Rothwell

Stefan Struve isn’t retiring yet.

According to a report from MMA Fighting, the towering heavyweight veteran will return to the cage opposite Ben Rothwell at UFC on ESPN 7 on December 7 in Washington DC. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani also reported that Struve has signed a new long-term deal with the promotion.

This booking comes as a bit of a surprise, as Stefan Struve seemed to be right on the precipice of retirement after his last fight, a submission defeat of Marcos Rogerio de Lima at UFC Prague in February.

“This is something I’ve thought over a whole lot,” Struve said after his victory. “I think everybody’s aware my heart is not 100 percent. When I made my comeback I told myself I would have about five years and I’ve been fighting a little longer since then. My heart is good, but there’s a very good opportunity that this is my last fight, so thank you very much.”

This win over de Lima separated Struve from three consecutive losses: a pair of decision setbacks against Marcin Tybura and Andrei Arlovski, and a TKO loss to former Bellator champion Alexander Volkov.

Ben Rothwell, on the other hand, is on a three-fight skid, having recently lost to Andrei Arlovski, Blagoy Ivanov and Junior dos Santos, all by unanimous decision. Prior to these setbacks, he was riding high on four-straight wins over top-flight foes in Brandon Vera, Alistair Overeem, Matt Mitrione and Josh Barnett — all stoppages.

How do you think Stefan Struve will do in his upcoming fight with the struggling Ben Rothwell?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/13/2019.

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