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Ben Rothwell: Accepting Junior dos Santos UFC fight was 'strategically stupid'

Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to facing Junior dos Santos in Croatia, Ben Rothwell was riding high on a four fight win streak -- all finishes -- against some pretty top-level competition including another streaking heavyweight, Alistair Overeem.

But his streak -- and title hopes -- came to a crashing halt when he and "Cigano" went toe-to-toe at UFC Fight Night 86 last month, as Dos Santos cruised to a unanimous decision victory thanks to a sensational striking exhibition.

See it again here.

Looking back at it, Rothwell says accepting the fight against Junior wasn't the best decision. In fact, it was "strategically stupid," as the Brazilian was coming off a knockout loss to the aforementioned Overeem.

And as he told The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting), he intends to think more rationally before accepting fights that don't make much sense moving forward.

"I was on a four-fight win streak and I took on a guy off a loss. It was a stupid fight for me, strategically. There some regret and there's not. I think more, not regret, but a learning lesson. I think right after the fights, I need to be locked up and somebody else needs to take my phone and take my wallet, because I get crazy after a fight. It's when I do crazy interviews, it's when I'm off the wall, and I think I get high off the wins. I don't know what it is, but it's obvious I'm not thinking rationally at the time. It was good for the UFC because they got to fill a main event. It was just a strategically stupid fight."

Despite the loss, Rothwell earned plenty of respect from "Cigano" for actually stepping up to the plate when no one else would.

The loss won't keep Rothwell down for long, as he intends to follow in his friend Robbie Lawler's footsteps after "Ruthless" went on an unprecedented run -- which is still going -- to capture the UFC welterweight title.

Anyone think "Big Ben" can rack up three or four consecutive victories and get back into the title hunt? If so, who should be his first opponent coming off a defeat?

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