When the IFL was still around, Ben Rothwell was the cream of their heavyweight crop, amassing a 9-0 record in the process. Since their demise, Rothwell has gone 1-1 including a devastating KO loss to former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. He has been given new life as he looks to make a big splash in his Octagon debut at UFC 104 this Saturday against Cain Velasquez.
Although he holds an impressive 30-6 professional record, all of his damage has been done away from MMA’s biggest stage. Rothwell knew after signing his contract that he’d have to fight somebody notable if he were to work his way up the totem pole, and Velasques is no joke.
“Everybody knows who [Cain Velasquez] is. I want to be fighting with the guys that are the names in the UFC,” Rothwell said during a recent UFC conference call.
Rothwell’s most notable victories to date have come against former “The Ultimate Fighter 8” contestant Krzysztof Soszynski (twice) and MMA veteran Ricco Rodriguez, not exactly a who’s who when you are talking about top-ranked heavyweights.
“You know I want to be a name in the UFC as well and that’s the only way,” Rothwell continued. “You’ve got to be in there fighting the guys that people know. So I’m very excited for the fight.”
In Velasquez, Rothwell has a legit name that he can add to his resume. However, if Velasquez wins, he’s probably in line for a title shot against the winner of Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin bout at UFC 106.
Either way you look at it, the co-main event at UFC 104 has major heavyweight title implications, and Big Ben intends to go big before he goes home.