Ben Rothwell got back on the winning track by knocking out Brendan Schaub in the very first round at UFC 145 on Apr., 21, 2012. After getting staggered by a spinning elbow from "The Hybrid" which had him reeling, "Big Ben" got the better of an exchange and sent Schaub crashing to the canvas.
A few follow up shots for good measure and Rothwell was standing the victor.
After alternating wins and losses in his last seven bouts, Ben has at least been on a consistent path. However, Rothwell is looking to break his recent cycle and start a win streak and become a legitimate contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight division.
Stepping into the Octagon in Atlanta, visibly slimmer, Rothwell says the new and improved "Big Ben" is all about the recent changes he's made in his life and how they could equate to bigger and better things moving forward.
Appearing on Sherdog Radio, Rothwell talks about his lifestyle change and the goals he has set for himself in the UFC, including a showdown with none other than recently suspended Alistair Overeem on the UFC's New Year's Eve card.
Check it out:
"I changed who I am friends with. I changed my diet. I changed what I do when I have time off. I changed how I sleep. I changed everything. You don't just lose to someone you think you can beat. You get your ass kicked by them. ... You get your eye cut open. You get a deep gash in your face. You get scars that are never going to go away. They're not going to leave you. The rest of your life, you're going to remember that day, the saddest day of your life. If that happens to you, you've really got to take a look at your life and go, ‘What the f--- am I doing? What am I doing?"
After his victory in "The Big Peach," Rothwell gave a heartwarming victory speech inside the Octagon, claiming the fans are the ones that motivated him when he was on the brink of calling it quits. Injected with a new sense of life, Rothwell has a rather ambitious fight schedule laid out for himself:
"I'm willing to fight anyone the UFC wants me to fight in August. I'm going to beat whoever that is. I don't care. Whoever it is, whoever you guys want to see me beat, I'm going to beat them in August. After that, I believe Alistair Overeem will be issued his license back December 27. That makes a perfect time for me to fight him New Year's Eve, making me the number one contender after I beat his f---ing ass. I'm going to beat him and then I'm going to fight whoever the champion is after that. That is my plan. We're going to see something that none of you thought was going to happen: Ben Rothwell become a contender and win the UFC belt and become the champion that this sport deserves. That's what you're going to see happen."
Step one for Ben is in place as he has indeed been booked to fight in August against another rising heavy hitter in the form of Travis Browne at the UFC on Fox 4 event in Los Angeles on Aug., 4, 2012. Step two, however, might be a little tougher, seeing as how Alistair Overeem isn't exactly on cloud nine much like Rothwell is at the moment.
"The Reem" was recently denied his license to fight and suspended for nine months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for his elevated testosterone levels which the former K-1 champion says were caused by some anti-inflammatory medication that he was taking that contained testosterone, to which Overeem has no knowledge of.
However, the "Demolition Man" could return to action as early as Dec., 27, which would be right around the corner for the UFC's annual end of the year extravaganza. The chances of Overeem being on that card, however, are probably slim to none, because UFC President Dana White is still on the fence on what to do with him.
For now, Rothwell has his hands full with "Hapa," who is on a three fight win streak and seems to get better each time out and is coming off of a first round destruction of Chad Griggs, also at UFC 145. A win for Rothwell over the Greg Jackson-trained fighter would inch him closer to his desired title shot.
A loss would be disastrous, to say the least.
Which will it be?