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‘Bigfoot’ Silva wants to make Ben Rothwell pay for ‘punching bag’ comments

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ben Rothwell called Antonio Silva a "punching bag", but the Brazilian heavyweight won’t respond him -- for now.

Riding a three-fight finishing streak, capped off by a first-round submission over Matt Mitrione at UFC Fight Night 68, Rothwell spoke with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour about the effects on the banning of testosterone replacement therapy in MMA, saying that fighters who won on TRT won’t perform like they used to.

"I think one of the reasons they gave me that fight, was people thought I was going to be a tomato can because I had to come off TRT," Rothwell said. "Thank god I only did it a short period of time. I don't think it affected me as much as, say Vitor [Belfort]. Look at ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, he came off and the guy's a shell of himself, he doesn't look anything like he did before, he's a punching bag. You're going to see that with a lot of guys, changing when they come off it. I think even Overeem thought same thing, I was going to be a punching bag, but I surprised everyone."

"Bigfoot" Silva, a former UFC heavyweight title contender who went winless in his last four fights inside the Octagon after scoring back-to-back knockouts over Alistair Overeem and Travis Browne, used TRT only in his majority draw with Mark Hunt, when he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone.

"I will answer him inside the Octagon," Silva said of Rothwell, who also tested positive for elevated testosterone levels while on TRT. "I know I need to win first, and then ask for a fight against him. On that day, I will answer him."

"I didn’t TRT my entire life and fought great fighters, like Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, Travis Browne, etc, and that was never an issue," he added. "That becomes an issue when you do it for a long time, and then have to stop using it."

"Bigfoot" gets back in action on Aug. 1, facing Soa Palelei at Rio de Janeiro’s UFC 190, and aims to return to the top 10 of the division.

"I’m training hard, focused on my return," he said. "I will be among the top 10 of the division soon, because the guys that I already beat are there. Every athlete seeks for the victory and success. I’ve been through a terrible stage in my career, and now I want to come back and do great fights."

Palelei stopped Walt Harris with punches in his last bout, improving to 4-1 with four knockout victories under the UFC banner. "Bigfoot", who lost five of his last eight via first-round knockout, expects a tough fight in Rio de Janeiro.

"He’s a tough opponent, has a good wrestling, heavy hands and knows jiu-jitsu, so I believe it’s going to be a battle on Aug. 1," Silva said. "I have no idea how the fight is going down because anything can happen in a fight, but I want and I will do my best to come out victorious in the end."