LAS VEGAS – Ben Rothwell doesn’t feel satisfied with his MMA career yet and wants to accomplish more before retirement.

Rothwell (39-13 MMA, 9-7 UFC) has the chance to add another win to his resume Saturday when he meets Marcos Rogerio de Lima (18-7-1 MMA, 7-5 UFC) in a heavyweight co-main event at UFC Fight Night 197. The event takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streams on ESPN+.

The longtime veteran, who made his professional debut in January 2001, knows he’s at the point in his life where athletes begin to retire The 40-year-old isn’t ready, though, and Rothwell knows he still hasn’t fulfilled his full potential.

“There’s some guys who are retired who are younger than me, and then there’s guys at 42 years old who do the most amazing things,” Rothwell told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 197 media day. “It’s MMA, you just don’t know. Honestly, it’s in God’s hands. My fire and drive is very much there because there’s a lot of I want to do and prove. Certainly prove and again remind everybody that I am one of the best heavyweights on the planet. But I have to win all my fights from here on until the time is done. I don’t know how long that is. I’m not Andrei Arlovski. I’m not totally Benjamin Button, but I do get told that I’m looking good for 40.”

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Rothwell felt he was coming in to his perfect moment a few years ago when the UFC had him ranked inside the top five of its official rankings. But then Rothwell’s career got derailed by a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspension, where the fighter still feels he was wronged to this day.

He’s been back to work since 2019, though, and with three wins in his past four bouts, thinks he can still make waves in the heavyweight division.

Brazil’s de Lima, however, stands in the way of Rothwell’s goals.

“He likes to kick, and he’s really been working his wrestling it seems like. He prominently was a kickboxer, and now he’s won some of his fights by grinding on guys, laying on guys, doing takedowns that way. He comes from one of the best camps in the world, American Top Team, so that’s a big thing. He’s no one to be taking lightly, and I didn’t. I trained extremely hard for this, and I’m ready to perform.”

To hear more from Rothwell, check out his complete UFC Fight Night 197 media day interview.


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