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Ben Rothwell says accepting Junior dos Santos fight was ‘strategically stupid’

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The road to the UFC title ended in Croatia for “Big” Ben Rothwell, who saw his four-fight win streak snapped at the hands of Junior dos Santos at UFC Fight Night 86. The loss sent Rothwell back to a crowded landscape of heavyweight contenders and spoiled a surprising run that appeared to have the 34-year-old on the verge of competing for a UFC strap.

“I didn’t fulfill everything that I said I was going to do,” a disappointed Rothwell said Monday on The MMA Hour, speaking for the first time since falling to dos Santos. “I didn’t back-up everything that I said. I said I’m a man of my word and I didn’t follow through with it, so that hurts me more than anything.”

Rothwell currently sits at No. 6 on the UFC heavyweight rankings, even despite the loss, so he knows all is not lost in the race towards gold. Still, he can’t help but wonder if he made the right decision.

The fight against dos Santos never made much sense from a rankings standpoint. At the time, Rothwell was one of the division’s hottest fighters, a winner of four straight and fresh off a submission win over the unsubmittable Josh Barnett. Dos Santos, on the other hand, was still reeling from a TKO loss to Alistair Overeem and saw his stock hit an all-time low.

Theoretically, the fight didn’t offer much to gain for “Big Ben” other than another notch onto his belt. But in his haste to stay active, Rothwell accepted it just days after dispatching Barnett.

“I was on a four-fight win streak and I took on a guy off a loss. It was a stupid fight for me, strategically,” Rothwell said.

“There some regret and there’s not. I think more, not regret, but a learning lesson. I think ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting