I cannot believe three years have passed since “Big” Ben Rothwell last competed in the UFC.
The last time we witnessed the 6′ 4″ beast in the cage was back in April 2016 where he took on former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos, unfortunately losing via unanimous decision. Before this bout, Rothwell was riding a four-fight win streak including impressive first round stoppages of Alistair Overeem and Matt Mitrione.
“Big” Ben aimed to bounce back from his loss scheduling a fight with former Champion Fabricio Werdum at UFC 211.
Less than six months before the card, the bout was cancelled due to an announcement made by anti-doping agency, USADA.
“Big” Ben Rothwell unfortunately tested positive for an, “anabolic androgenic steroid” discovered by USADA in an out-of-competition testing back in February 2017.
Rothwell pled his innocence explaining he was currently undergoing treatment containing testosterone due to a “legit” illness he was attempting to overcome.
Subsequently, Rothwell was served with a two-year suspension.
Two years have passed and the 37-year-old returns to face Blagoy Ivanov at UFC Fight Night 146 this weekend.
Blagoy Ivanov is relatively new to the UFC only recording one matchup within the organization, however, his debut opponent being Junior dos Santos was never going to be peaceful welcome to the UFC. Just like Rothwell, Ivanov suffered defeat from the Brazilian.
Before joining the UFC, Blagoy had huge success in previous organizations carrying a five fight win streak into his UFC debut. With the level of fighters Rothwell has fought in the past, Blagoy will have a huge opportunity to cement his place in the UFC.
“Big” Ben will be Blagoys biggest test to date as Rothwell carries a 46 fight career experience holding only 10 losses. Rothwell has proven time and time again he can stand toe to toe with the best in the world through his career win or lose.
In my opinion, I hope this highly anticipated return of Ben Rothwell provides the fighter whatever boost needed to get his UFC career re-started. With only one loss in five, success for Rothwell this weekend adds a superb addition to the roster and personally I cannot wait to see “Big” Ben step into the cage again.