For the many who don’t know who Ben Rothwell (33-5) is, not only is he an accomplished MMA fighter, but he is also a humble one as well. He has spent the majority of his career bouncing around from one small MMA organization to another, finally landing at an “established” one in the IFL. In an exclusive interview with 5htRound.com, Rothwell talks about his past, present and future.
Rothwell will be taking his 13 fight win streak into Afflcition:Banned this weekend. He will be facing his toughest opponent to date in former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. Although he hasn’t lost a fight in over three years, Rothwell feels that whatever he has accomplished in the past has absolutely no bearing on what will take place this Saturday.
“It doesn’t matter,” Rothwell said about a possible end to his win streak. “I fight every fight to win. It doesn’t matter if you lost five in a row or lost 20 in a row. I fight every fight; that is just how it is.”
And, he will have to fight the best fight of his career if he intends to walk away victorious against Arlovski. Just a few years back, Arlovski was considered by many as the second best Heavyweight in the world. However for some reason, he has not been able to get back to that elite level, and it seems to be more of a mental issue than a physical one.
“He is an extremely tough opponent, a very well versed mixed martial artist,” Rothwell stated about Arlovski. “(He’s) Been in the top five for a few years now; it will be a big test for me. After my last fight [a September victory over Ricco Rodriguez in the IFL] I felt that I was a B/B+ fighter and nine months later I know I am an A+ fighter, and this is my chance to prove it. I’m looking for an exciting fight.”
After many years of uncertainty, Rothwell finally feels that he has found a home with Affliction. Even though they are a start-up company, their clothing brand has become synonymous with MMA at this point. In addition to that, having a certain Vice President by the name of Donald Trump doesn’t hurt either.
“Donald Trump helped get more media exposure out there,” Rothwell said of his new boss. “It was great that we got him on board.”
However, Big Ben is quick to point out that Trump was not the only person that played a roll in getting this promotion hyped to the gigantic proportions that it is currently at.
“Affliction really busted their ass to get this thing promoted,” he went on to say. “Using all of their resources and that has a lot to do with it. I think of any other new show that has come in, I don’t think any has promoted as hard as Affliction has and they’re like, ‘hey, were not trying to compete with the UFC,’ but when you’re in the same business doing mixed martial arts, of course there is gonna be competition. And the UFC obviously has seen it as so, by putting a last minute card together (Fight Night 14). Obviously they are a little worried. And I think they should be.”
Win, lose or draw, Rothwell can fight at ease knowing that his future and financial security is safe.
“This is a three fight deal (with Affliction), it is not exclusive, so I have the right to go to Adrenaline or Japan just to see what happens. It is a good thing for fighters (non exclusivity),” he said. “It’s big, it’s cool but for the fighters, they’re signing all of their rights away. And that’s not too cool; and it’s their fault for doing that. We just need more competition to help change that so we can start getting some more money.”
Rothwell’s new found security is a far cry from his previous employer, the IFL, who is currently under severe financial concerns.
“Pretty heavy rumors going around that one of these big companies bought them, either Elite or the UFC,” Rothwell said about his former organization.
That is his past now, and all Rothwell cares about his future. And the future starts now.