Stefan Struve is one step closer to returning to the cage.
Struve, the Dutch 7-footer who competes within the UFC heavyweight division, has been sidelined with an enlarged heart and bicuspid aortic valve since March 2013. But now, after undergoing over a year of treatment, Struve's agonizing wait may nearly be at an end.
"I think we're very close," Struve's manager Lex McMahon said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "Very exciting news with Stefan, he was actually cleared by his doctor in the Netherlands.
"Right now we're just waiting for a copy of his file to be translated so that the UFC can have their doctor take a look at it, and they're going to determine whether or not to have Stefan get a second opinion or now. If they do bring him out for a second opinion, that would likely be out in Los Angeles with the UFC's cardiologist that they use frequently. I believe they sent Dan Hardy to him and a few other folks."
Despite his lengthy layoff, Struve (25-6) remains ranked No. 13 on the UFC's heavyweight rankings. He's the owner of a 9-4 record since debuting in the promotion in 2009, and was on the cusp of contendership before seeing a four-fight win streak snapped by Mark Hunt in his most recent outing.
Nonetheless, Struve is still only 26 years old, and he could soon be eyeing a new streak if all goes well over the next few months.
"The UFC has been great. They're very anxious to get Stefan back in the Octagon. I've had a lot of conversations with Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) and Joe Silva and Dr. Davidson about Stefan. They've been extremely supportive and we're all appreciative of that," McMahon said.
"But I think we're close. If I had to guess, we don't have an opponent yet, we don't have even a date yet, but I do believe you'll see Stefan back, probably during the summer is my guess, just given where [the UFC is] in trying to make cards."