When examining the tallest UFC fighters, it’s best to start at the top — literally.
Listed at 7-feet even on UFC.com, Stefan Struve is officially the tallest fighter in the history of the Las Vegas-based promotion. Competing at a height that rivals most post players in the NBA has only produced mixed results in the Octagon for the man known as “Skyscraper,” however.
The 28-year-old Dutchman is 11-6 during his UFC tenure, including a technical knockout triumph over current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in September 2012, and victories over Brazilian veterans Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio Silva. Still, he has often struggled at the highest levels of competition, with five of his six Octagon defeats coming via knockout against the likes of Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, Travis Browne, Roy Nelson and Junior dos Santos.
Struve’s career was nearly derailed by a heart condition that sidelined him for more than a year. He has since recovered to win two of his last three fights and is confident that his best is yet to come.
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“I added like 50, 60 pounds of muscle to my frame, so yeah, it’s a big difference,” Struve said prior to his most recent win over Silva. “I’m not a kid anymore. I now understand what fighting should be about.”
While Struve is unquestionably the tallest UFC fighter in promotion history, he is not the most accomplished among those blessed with height. That honor goes to Tim Sylvia, who at 6-foot-8 was a two-time UFC heavyweight champion.
“The Maine-iac” first captured heavyweight gold with a first-round stoppage of Ricco Rodriguez at UFC 41 on Feb. 28, 2003. He defended the title with another first-round stoppage of Gan McGee, a towering fighter himself at 6-foot-10. Sylvia forfeited his title after that bout due to a failed drug test. He would not get the title back until UFC 59 in 2006, when he knocked out longtime rival Andrei Arlovski in the opening stanza. He held the belt until UFC 68, when Randy Couture moved up to heavyweight and pulled off a five-round shocker to claim the title.
Sylvia ended his UFC career with a 9-4 mark in the Octagon. He continued to compete for several years after parting ways with the organization. He retired early in 2015 after he was not medically cleared to fight at a regional card in Uncasville, Conn.
Other notable tall UFC fighters include: Travis Browne, Emmanuel Yarborough, Brad Imes, Sean McCorkle, Luke Barnatt, Marcus Jones, and Cyrille Diabate, to name a few. All of the above check in at 6-foot-6 or taller, proving that great heights can be reached by those who tower above the opposition.