Stefan Struve, like many of the heavyweight fighters all around MMA, grew up watching Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira compete.
Saturday night, “The Skyscraper” scored a convincing decision over Nogueira at UFC 190 in Brazil.
“I know you guys wanted (Nogueira) to win, but I couldn’t let that happen,” he said. “I respect him as much as you guys. Thanks for the unique experience.”
Following a four-fight win streak between 2011-12, Struve (26-7) was hit with a rare disease that knocked him from competition. He also lost to Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem via knockout, but was impressive in his return vs. “Big Nog.”
Struve hit Nogueira, a former interim UFC and Pride champion, with everything from the first round on, but he couldn’t finish off the Brazilian.
“This is not a normal man,” Struve said. “All respect to him.”