Ben Rothwell has been a staple in the UFC heavyweight division for many years, but it seems his time with the organization has come to an end. According to reports from MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin, Rothwell has been released from the UFC. This news comes out of nowhere since Rothwell had his next assignment all set up for him. He was scheduled to face off against the returning Alexander Gustafsson in May.
Rothwell came to the UFC back in 2009. He quickly made himself known in a talented heavyweight division and was able to capture wins over some tough competition. Perhaps his best stretch was from 2013 to 2016 when he won four in a row over Josh Barnett, Matt Mitrione, Alistair Overeem, and Brandon Vera. During that time, however, Rothwell was handed a suspension due to testing positive for elevated testosterone levels.
Since 2016, Rothwell has had a bit of a rough go of it. He has put together a record of 3-5 over the last few years but had been matched up with some of the best at heavyweight. His last fight ended in a first-round TKO loss to Marcos Rogério de Lima. Perhaps his departure from the UFC could open doors for him in other organizations or ventures. Many former UFC fighters have been finding themselves having success signing with other MMA promotions or trying out boxing.
As for Gustafsson, he was looking to face off against Rothwell as a part of his next chapter at heavyweight. He had a long and successful run at light heavyweight and several title shots that didn’t go his way. There is no word yet on a possible replacement for the date or if he will find a new opponent on a different card.
There has been no official word from Rothwell or his team about the reported parking of ways with the UFC at this time.