Ben Rothwell sends fiery challenge to BKFC heavyweight champ Mick Terrill: ‘He’s basically holding onto my belt’

In many ways, UFC veteran Ben Rothwell could have easily slid into a title shot when he first arrived in BKFC.

With over 50 fights on his resume and a career dated back more than 20 years, the 6-foot-4 knockout artist became a key free agent pickup after he asked for his release from the UFC to explore new options. Since making his debut, Rothwell has quickly dispatched two opponents in impressive fashion but rather than earn a title shot, he was instead scheduled to clash with Todd Duffee this past December.

Unfortunately, illness wiped out that fight with Rothwell unable to compete but now as he looks ahead at 2024, he’s done waiting for an opportunity that should have already been earned.

“This isn’t like I’m bypassing Todd Duffee,” Rothwell explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “Mick Terrill and I had words a year ago. I was already going after him and he said ‘I’m going to get the belt first and then I’m going to take you out.’ OK, well here we are.

“He’s got the belt and he’s basically holding onto my belt. That’s ultimately the fight I’ve always wanted.”

Terrill, a 7-1 veteran in bare-knuckle fight, claimed the heavyweight title with a knockout over Arnold Adams at BKFC 56. That win avenged a prior loss to Adams back in 2021 with Terrill now riding a three-fight win streak overall.

Rothwell doesn’t really have anything against Terrill personally other than the British born heavyweight holding onto a belt he desperately wants to add to his collection.

Add to that, Rothwell just doesn’t see any other viable options in the division, especially if that means another champion from a lower weight class just packing on some extra pounds in an attempt to compete at heavyweight.

“For me, I feel it’s the biggest and best heavyweight fight, me versus Mick Terrill,” Rothwell said. “There’s talks of some other guys coming after Mick. You’ve got 185-pound guy [Lorenzo Hunt] fighting Mick Terrill does nothing for the heavyweight division. It does nothing for Mick Terrill. It’s a lose-lose for him. If he wins, he’s supposed to win. If he loses, it’s absolutely devastating for his career and him. Why would you do that?

“Fight me. We’re the two biggest heavyweights in the division. That’s what people tune in to see. A heavyweight fight. The two best heavyweights doing battle, that is a fight we can build. Everyone knows what I bring to the table so you know it’s going to be awesome to watch. It’s the fight that needs to happen.”

As disappointed as he was to miss out on his own fight at BKFC 56, Rothwell still watched the event and saw Terrill capture the title after stopping an exhausted Adams in the fourth round. If that performance showed him anything, it’s that Rothwell knows he’s more than ready to take out the new heavyweight champion.

“[That fight showed me] I don’t need to fight anyone else when I know I can beat the heavyweight champ right now,” Rothwell said. “Props to him for being a very tough guy. He gutted some hard shots and things of that nature but the competitor in me has to come out and say I don’t care, I have to take you out now. That’s just how it is.

“Outside of it, I’m happy for him. He gutted out a great fight and took on a guy that had kind ruled that division before all of us got here and he got revenge. They had fought earlier and Mick Terrill had reasons and excuses why he lost and he came and made it right.”

Ideally, Rothwell would like to compete sooner rather than later. He hoped he could fight Terrill as early as February, although that timeline seems unrealistic given the current lineup already confirmed for BKFC through the first two months of the year.

That said, Rothwell doesn’t really care where or when as long as the BKFC heavyweight title is up for grabs.

“I don’t give a s*** where it’s at,” Rothwell said. “I’ll fight him anywhere on this planet. If we’ve got to go to London, then ‘Big Ben’ is going to come show him what time it is.

“I haven’t been this excited to want to fight somebody in a long time. No offense to Mick, but we got it and this is the fight to make. I’m excited for this fight and I know I’ll deliver.”

More than anything, Rothwell hopes Terrill is listening because he knows BKFC will be interesting in putting together the biggest and best possible matchups in the year ahead.

That’s why Rothwell sent Terrill a direct message to ensure that he has the heavyweight champion’s undivided attention.

“Mick Terrill, we’re the two biggest heavyweights in the division, we have the opportunity to have the biggest BKFC heavyweight title fight of all time,” Rothwell said. “It’s an opportunity and it’s not going to come around again. Because I’m here and I’m ready. All the naysayers out there ‘I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that.’ — no, I’ve done enough in my career, I beat in my mind I beat the second best heavyweight in Josh Copeland. I earned my shot. I don’t need to fight anybody else when I know I can beat the heavyweight champ right now.

“Mick, you don’t like that? Then prove everyone wrong and do what a champion does and earn that belt by defending it because I’m coming to take it regardless.”

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