Rothwell Ready To Prove More Able Than Cain (USCS Insider Access)
After a dominating sparring session with fellow UFC 104 teammate Pat Barry, Ben Rothwell told USCS that every moment in his ten year career has only been training for his matchup with Cain Velasquez on Saturday.
That’s a pretty tough training schedule if you think about it. Over ten years of “training” professionally, over 50 rounds of professional “sparring”, and 36 “practice” fights later, the Wisconsin native has finally reached his starting gate.
“For me, coming to the UFC was the starting point,” said Rothwell. “All that was a warm-up, it was all training to get to this point.”
The point that Rothwell refers to is his matchup with rising star Cain Velasquez. The bout, which will co-headline UFC 104, has the opportunity to vault either fighter directly into a heavyweight title shot between the winner of Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin.
Originally, Rothwell was not scheduled to compete in such a significant matchup. Rothwell was supposed to take on Chase Gormley while a fight between Velasquez and Carwin was supposed to decide the next contender to Brock’s title.
However, the UFC had a change of heart and promoted Carwin into a fight with the Minnesota behemoth. This allowed for Rothwell to slide into the vacant slot at UFC 104. Needless to say, he was not upset with the shuffle.
“I went from fighting a guy that no one really knew to all of a sudden fighting Cain Velasquez, and they are going to make it a co-main event. I was ecstatic.”
Potential Title Fight
The idea to match up Rothwell and Velasquez makes sense for a number of reasons. First, the organization had been prepping both Velasquez and Carwin for title shots for the last year or so. An elimination bout between the two would have undermined the promotional techniques of UFC executives.
Second, a fight involving Cain and Ben allows the casual fan a better chance to become acquainted with Rothwell before a potential title fight. Despite his stellar resume, this fight will be the Kenosha native’s first in the UFC.
“Coming into my first UFC fight as the co-main event says something,” remarked Rothwell. “They just don’t put anybody in that position. That means that people that matter have been watching me and they know who I am.”
What “the people that matter” have been watching is an extremely experienced 28 year-old who has already faced some of the world’s toughest heavyweights. His resume reads off like a who’s who of MMA.
- Andrei Arlovski – 3rd Round KO Loss
- Ricco Rodriguez – Unanimous Decision Victory
- Krzysztof Soszynski (2) – 13 second KO Victory and 1st Round KO Victory
- Roy Nelson – Split Decision Victory
- Tim Sylvia – Decision Loss
But according to Rothwell (30-6 according to Sherdog), the results of those matches are unimportant. What is important to the well rounded athlete is the wealth of knowledge that he has taken from the fights. He said that this experience will propel him to victory over the inexperienced Velasquez.
“The fact is that he has never fought anyone like me,” said Rothwell. “He has never fought anyone as big and as skilled me for one thing.”
Velasquez has only had six career fights, and with the exception of Cheick Kongo, none can be considered top talents. Rothwell believes that he will be able to create problems that his opponent has yet to deal with inside of the cage.
“He goes in and poses his wrestling on guys and stuff like that, but I’ve seen him put guys on their back and they don’t even move off their back, they just kind of lay there. That ain’t going to happen with me. I know what I can do on my feet, and I’ve got some fight ending type skill sets. I think he’s up against a lot, I got a lot of ways to win.”
Rothwell has the opportunity of a lifetime in front of him on Saturday. The only undefeated IFL champion has put in his time on a number of the smaller circuits, but all of that was just training.
Standing next to his striking coach Duke Roufus, Rothwell yelled, “Tell everyone that I am going to win this fight. I am going to someday bring that UFC belt back home to Wisconsin.”