Stefan Struve isn’t done fighting just yet.
Despite strongly suggesting that he was retiring earlier this year, Struve (29-11) has been booked to face Ben Rothwell (36-12) in a heavyweight bout on Dec. 7 at UFC on ESPN 7, which takes place at Capitol One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Officials announced the matchup Tuesday.
Struve was victorious in his last outing, submitting Marcos Rogerio de Lima in the second round at UFC Prague in February. That win snapped a three-fight losing skid for “Skyscraper” and he used his post-fight interview to thank the fans for supporting his career.
“This is something I’ve thought over a whole lot,” Struve said at the time. “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.”
Struve’s manager Lex McMahon released a statement to ESPN explaining the fighter’s decision to continue his career and indicated that Struve has a new contract with the UFC.
“Stefan had the opportunity to rest and recharge,” the statement reads. “If you recall he never fully committed to retiring. He’s young, still just 31 years old, I think after some much needed rest, he realized that he loves the sport, the competition, has rediscovered his passion for fighting at the highest level.
“The UFC was very supportive of Stefan and gave him a deal that gives him the opportunity to earn a tremendous amount of money and compensates him for what he is, a highly marketable veteran who is near the very top of the division in terms of fights, wins, finishes, and performance bonuses.”
Rothwell is currently in a career-worst slump having lost his last three fights, all by unanimous decision. Most recently, he fell to Andrei Arlovski at UFC on ESPN 4 in July. The 37-year-old is 6-6 in the UFC.