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Ben Rothwell questions how Cain Velasquez will perform when new PED tests start

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As Ben Rothwell waited to appear on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, he overheard the previous guest, American Kickboxing Academy trainer Javier Mendez, refer to Junior dos Santos as "the only threat" to UFC heavyweight champion and AKA fighter Cain Velasquez.

Rothwell, fresh off his quick Saturday night stoppage of Matt Mitrione, was just as quick to take issue with Mendez's comments.

"Javier Mendez says JDS is the only threat to Cain," Rothwell said. "That's a joke in itself. I'm not pissed off. I laugh. Its funny. It's whatever. That's wishful thinking. He's hoping that things don't change. Is the guy tough?"

Then the conversation took a right turn. Rothwell noted that the UFC's new anti-doping rules go into effect on July 1, and questioned whether the reigning champion -- as well as a whole host of fighters -- will look the same in the Octagon once year-round random testing goes into effect July 1.

"Let's see what happens after July 1, when the advance testing starts kicking in," Rothwell said. "Let's see if [Velasquez is] still fighting the same way he has. I doubt it. I'm not implying anything, what I'm just saying, I don't believe every division is going to look the same after July 1st. If anyone takes offense to that, maybe they ought to look at themselves and look at their problems."

Some might look at Rothwell's comments and point out that he, too, has a history, as he was suspended for elevated testosterone levels following his UFC 164 win over Brandon Vera.

But Rothwell has chosen to own his transgression, noting he was on the then-legal testosterone replacement therapy with the UFC's knowledge, and, more importantly, he believes his results since returning from his suspension speak for themselves.

"People say ‘Ben Rothwell, you did this and that,' whatever," he said. "2012, mine was a prescription, the UFC knew about it, and it was what it was. I don't regret anything, I had to go through that. Now that I went through that I get scrutinized 10 times as much as everyone else. I know where I'm at."

Later, Rothwell reflected on what that period in his life means going forward.

"I'm never going to forget it." Rothwell said. "That's my scar to look at and remind myself of what I've gone through. It's not about, for me what's so powerful about it isn't that I went through it, it's that I've come back from it. Before the last fight I said, I beat this. People were like "whatever." Now, here it is, two wins later, look at my life, I beat it. The mental capacity it took to overcome it is what made me."

Rothwell pegged his change in attitude in part to Anderson Silva testing positive for PEDs following UFC 183, the drug test failure which spurred the UFC to implement enhanced testing once and for all.

"When Anderson Silva tested positive, a seed inside of me opened up. Something changed dramatically in my life. I was so upset and so enraged at the same time. I was like, I knew it, I knew it all along. And it just came, it's true. It's sad to see these things about these heroes we looked up to, these heroes we believed so much in, it's just, it's a fact these guys are doing anything they have to win, and they're not real."

Rothwell noted that unlike other former TRT users, he's remained successful after weaning off the procedure. He feels like he was being set up to fail when he fought Alistair Overeem last September, a bout Rothwell won via first-round TKO.

"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," he 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."