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When the dust settled in New Orleans, there stood the image of Ben Rothwell

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Every now and again you get a card like the one in New Orleans on Saturday night, a card where everybody’s either going out on their shields or blowing the smoke off their fists. The kind of card where Burt Watson tearfully whispers "that’s what I’m talking about, baby" into a warm glass of Grand Marnier as he catches up on his DVR. The kind of card where Thiago Tavares, years from now, will gaily trace the scar over his eye to the very birthplace of jazz.

It was a fitting topper that 44-year-old Dan Henderson went out there and turned the figure of Tim Boetsch into a mushroom cloud. That old "H-bomb" can still devastate entire civilizations. Maybe Jay Glazer was right to marvel at Hendo’s staying power earlier in the broadcast. At this point, there’s no explaining that kind of "longectivity," to use his word. There just isn’t.

And that Henderson needed just 28 seconds to finish Boetsch was also apt; everybody was in a damn hurry out there at the Smoothie King Center. Dustin Poirier, a Louisiana native, knocked Yancy Medeiros out something like three times in half a round. Francisco Rivera needed just 21 seconds to put away Alex Caceres, and spent another 21 seconds pleading for a bonus (very unbecoming). Anthony Birchak, who waited nearly a year to punch Joe Soto, got it done in 1:37. And did you see what Shawn Jordan did to "The Black Beast," Derrick Lewis? It defied logic. Fullbacks shouldn’t be able to kick that high.

Then there was Ben Rothwell.

Ben freaking Rothwell.

Big Ben.

Pride of Kenosha.

Holy God.

In an age where leftover heavyweights from other brutal eras are suddenly resurfacing as contenders, Big Ben is the latest to lumber forward. It wasn’t that he choked Matt Mitrione into an emphatic two-hand tap (which in itself was medieval), it was the evil laugh afterwards. Rothwell knows his way around a microphone, just like he knows how to cut a wholesome gif. When Jon Anik got up close for the post-fight interview, Rothwell dug into his farm-bred villainy, saying, "You Have Seen Nothing, Yet." Not the double negative "you ain’t seen nothing yet" but "You Have Seen Nothing, Yet." Then he laughed evilly and threw his arm up in a showcase of villainous evil. This of course blew Jacob Volkmann’s old "glassectomy" spiel out of the water.

Rothwell is king.

And this feels like a common theme in 2015, this dusting off heavyweight relics from the past and shining them up as contenders. Rothwell wasn’t supposed to beat Alistair Overeem back in September of last year out at Foxwoods. In fact, he was supposed to act as a tonic to whatever was ailing Overeem. To get him off the schneid, if you will. Instead Big Ben won, fast and dirty by TKO, and then did The Dance. It was almost too much to believe.

Yet then he goes out there and takes it to Matt Mitrione, who will regret shooting in for a takedown for the next many years. Suddenly Rothwell is not only relevant again in the heavyweight division, he’s talking about the title. Not all at once, of course, he is from Kenosha. He thinks that Stipe Miocic should get the winner of next Saturday night’s UFC 188 main event between primary champ Cain Velasquez and interim champ Fabricio Werdum.

But he wants next next, like it’s rec center basketball we’re dealing in. He wants to face Andrei Arlovski, the UFC’s other reclamation project, in the meantime. You know, for the right to face the winner of Miocic-Werdum/Velasquez. He is prospecting for a glinting future that, in the land of heavies, is really just a chaotic crapshoot where the best laid plans turn into existential rabbit holes.

Bless his heart. Evil genius can be so innocent.

Yet if Rothwell is a step closer to a heavyweight title shot, that’s par for the course. When it comes to heavyweights, we don’t know jack. We had left Rothwell for dead back when he’d lost two of three between 2011-2013. His career went even more off track after he went berserker on Brandon Vera in the third round of a fight he later tested for elevated testosterone for. Rothwell was headed south.

How far south? So far south that when he came back up he had acquired an evil laugh. On a great night of fights in New Orleans, "Big" Ben Rothwell put himself back into the conversation. Ben freaking Rothwell. Maybe it’s not that we "Have Seen Nothing, Yet" so much as "do we actually believe what we’re seeing?"

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