LAS VEGAS – Ben Rothwell is not taking his time as a professional MMA fighter for granted.
The long-time UFC heavyweight feels his career is on the line every time he sets foot in the octagon in this stage of his career. Rothwell (39-13 MMA, 9-7 UFC) got back to his winning ways on Saturday night after submitting Chris Barnett (21-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 188.
Rothwell felt he was fighting for his spot on the UFC roster and also his career in the sport. The 39-year-old said he’s at a point where he can’t afford many setbacks both in and out of the cage.
“In the sport, every fight, a bad injury right now, and so many things – my back is against the wall even with winning as far as my career goes,” Rothwell told reporters at the UFC Fight Night 188 post-fight press conference. “I wear my cross now because I bring God with me. There’s a lot of things that I can’t explain that are happening. My body is staying together. I’m finding ways to improve myself and I walk a very tight line. This sport is very dangerous. You have to stay healthy and a bad injury now, you know I’m not 30. You’re 30 and you take a bad injury and you have time to recover. I don’t have time to recover. My back is against the wall regardless of where I go.
“My back is also against the wall in the UFC. This is the biggest and best organization in the world and you have to fight like it. I have to be one of the best heavyweights in the world. I have to win fights. You don’t win fights, they bring new people in. Nothing has changed, I’ve watched it for 26 years.”
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Rothwell entered Saturday’s bout coming off a unanimous decision loss to Marcin Tybura from last October. Prior to the defeat, he was on a two-fight winning streak.
The veteran fighter wants to get some big names now that he’s back on the win column and 3-1 in his past four performances. Even though Rothwell approaches his career with much care at this stage, he knows he can be a nightmare matchup for any heavyweight in the roster.
“I have some medical things I’ve been dealing with for several years. I’m sure it’s not too hard to figure out what that is, so there is a lot against me,” Rothwell said. “But here I am, still got a win, still fighting, still mean as hell. I’m hell for anybody they put in there and they know it.”
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