UFC 145 Results: 5 Fights for Ben Rothwell to Take Next
Having fought his way back to an even keel in the UFC, Ben Rothwell now holds his own future in his hands, which is more than many would have thought before Saturday night in Atlanta.
The heavyweight division is full of great fighters, but they could always use one more, and it is up to him to make sure his hat stays in the ring, never far from the eye of Joe Silva.
Rothwell has many attributes, but his biggest may be his desire.
That being said, he still has mountains to climb, and any one of the next five listed fighters would help him reach that higher ground.
Travis Browne is a monster of a man who looks like he was cut from the same cloth as Conan the Barbarian.
He's big, mean, skilled and also athletic, and that puts him right in the way of any chance Ben Rothwell has to become top five in the division.
Rothwell would really have to dig deep to beat Browne, who is the more agile, aggressive fighter between the two of them.
A victory would seriously raise Rothwell's stock in the division, especially since it would probably only be gained in an all-out war that saw both men tested.
Rothwell is going to have to face fighters like Browne in order to stay afloat in the deep waters of the heavyweight division.
Another hard and necessary test for Rothwell would be Fabricio Werdum.
Given Rothwell's lack of speed and his style of fighting, almost anyone in the heavyweight division is going to pose at least some problems.
That being said, Rothwell has the ability to keep the fight on the feet. If he finds a way to successfully utilize his reach, he could keep Werdum at bay long enough to land some heavy leather.
It would be yet another hard fight for Rothwell, but this is a fight sport, and no day should be easy.
One of the reasons this fight is interesting is in the fact that both Rothwell and Carwin are about at the same level when it comes to the speed they possess.
While neither is a fast fighter, they are not slow either. In a fight like this, the first person landing is probably going to be the last man standing.
Carwin possesses greater knockout power, to be sure. He also has a very sturdy chin.
Against Carwin, Rothwell would be fighting a man much like himself, only more durable and powerful.
Still, he has a reach advantage, heavy hands and not the most mobile target in front of him when facing Carwin.
It would be a fight that would see him as a serious (and rightful) underdog, but it would also be exciting. Should Rothwell manage to find his mean streak, he could get off early and often on Carwin. But he must remain mobile and protect his chin. If not, he's going to be blinking into the overhead lighting when he comes to.
When considering a fight between Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson, one is not exactly inspired to stay glued to the sofa.
But upon a moments reflection, the idea begins to take root a bit more soundly.
Roy Nelson is the superior fighter between the two of them, but against Rothwell, he would be at a size disadvantage.
Against Nelson, Rothwell would need to keep pumping his jab, and doing so meaningfully. It is one tool that would serve him well, but it must be done with conviction. He can't hide behind it in order to make it work. And again, he would need to be constantly on the move, ready to sprawl should the time come.
A fight against Nelson would be comical at first, then exciting once both men decided to let it all hang out, so to speak.
Either way, it seems to reason that these two men will fight sooner or later.
Of all the men on this list, Minotauro Nogueira is here simply due to the fact that he is in the twilight of a great career.
In their primes, Big Nog would have owned Rothwell in just about every area of fighting that one can imagine.
But after several brutal battles, injuries and broken limbs, we are left with a diminished version of Minotauro Nogueira. And the fire for competition that still burns within his heart threatens to burn this lesser version of himself in effigy.
Time waits for no man, and no man seems to have enough time in the world of combative sports. They all want one more shot at greatness, and Nogueira is no different.
Rothwell would have a serious test on his hands, but if he committed to avoiding being taken down at all costs, pressuring Big Nog against the cage and making the smaller man carry his weight, he could win this fight.
Of course, it all comes down to making sure he is keeping Nogueira on the end of his punches, at arm's length.
Should Nogueira get inside, it could become a totally different fight.