Not even the newfound fitness of Ben Rothwell was able to save him from the dangerous assault of Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC on FX 7. Succumbing to an arm-in guillotine choke in the second round, Rothwell came up short in putting together his first winning streak since 2007.
Turn back the clock eight months and you would find Rothwell coming off a monumental knockout win over Brendan Schaub at UFC 145. The impressive performance showed us that the kickboxer from Wisconsin has what it takes to compete on the world's biggest stage.
After his third loss in five UFC appearances, it's time that we look ahead to see what's next for "Big" Ben Rothwell.
With Rothwell's skills rooted in kickboxing, the UFC would be smart to pair him off against a fellow striker in hopes of generating a major knockout. Those sort of highlights are a great addition to any free event. Think about the historical significance of Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry or Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko Cro Cop, which were aired on Versus and SPIKE TV, respectively.
Unfortunately, most of the strikers in the UFC are coming off wins, and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva rarely books fighters coming off victories against those coming off defeats.
By that logic, Mark Hunt, Pat Barry and Cheick Kongo are all off of the table. However, there is one impressive knockout artist who is technically on heels of a defeat: Travis Browne.
Carrying only one loss in his 15-fight career, Travis Browne has made a name for himself with highlight-reel finishes against Stefan Struve and Chad Griggs. Heading into the final quarter of 2012, Browne was considered to be the future of the heavyweight division.
At UFC on FX 5, Browne headlined the card by taking on Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in a fight that was expected to springboard the Hawaiian into the upper echelon of the division.
Unfortunately, after a few minutes of aggressive attack, Browne tore his hamstring and was forced to continue with severely limited movement. Unable to move out of the way of Silva's monstrous 82-inch reach, Browne lost via TKO for his first professional loss.
Rothwell and Browne were originally scheduled to meet on the main card of UFC on Fox 4 back in August, but Rothwell was forced from the contest due to injury.
At the time of their original booking, both heavyweights were looking to keep building momentum after signature victories. If rebooked for 2013, this fight would allow one man to redeem himself with a win over a notable opponent.