Ben Rothwell: I'll Be the No. 1 Contender After I Beat Overeem's Ass

Jordy McElroyCorrespondent IMay 2, 2012

Ben Rothwell - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Ben Rothwell - Esther Lin/MMAFighting

Ben Rothwell wants UFC gold, and he is willing to go through anyone to get it.

The former IFL champion believes his first-round knockout win over Brendan Schaub at UFC 145 pushed him into the contender's column of the heavyweight division.

Despite being an even 3-3 in his last six fights, Rothwell thinks he is a couple of wins away from realizing his dream of fighting for a UFC title.

"I'm willing to fight anyone the UFC wants me to fight in August," Rothwell said on Sherdog Radio Network's Savage Dog Show. "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 [expletive] ass. I'm going to beat him and then I'm going to fight whoever the champion is after that. That is my plan.

Rothwell certainly looked much improved against Schaub, a guy many considered a future contender in the division.

Still, it's going to take much more than a win over Schaub to convince the masses that Rothwell deserves a crack at the heavyweight elite. In his last three outings, including his win over Gilbert Yvel, Rothwell has looked out of shape and sluggish in the Octagon.

He knew he would have to make the necessary changes in his life if he ever wanted to progress in the UFC.

"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," Rothwell said.

The loss to Mark Hunt in September 2011 represented a turning point in Rothwell's career. He trained hard and expected to have his hand raised at the end of the bout, but instead, he found himself constantly fending from his back in a lackluster decision loss.

"I trained hard. I thought I was going to win this fight and I didn't," said Rothwell. "It's bad when you lose a fight, and you know you didn't train hard. You're sad, but you kind of knew you had it coming."

"But when you train hard and lose, that's harder to deal with. You think you're supposed to win and you don't. That [expletive] you up, and that happened to me."

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