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Cain Velasquez stunned by Ben Rothwell's PED implications: 'I'm never known for physique'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LOS ANGELES -- Ben Rothwell implied Monday on The MMA Hour that Cain Velasquez was using performance-enhancing drugs. When informed of Rothwell's remarks later Monday afternoon, the UFC heavyweight champion chuckled.

"That I am?" Velasquez said at a media lunch to promote UFC 188 on Saturday in Mexico City. "That's a big compliment for me, because I'm never known for physique. For someone to point that out, I'm kind of flattered."

Velasquez (13-1) said he was surprised by Rothwell's comments to Ariel Helwani and that perhaps Rothwell was just trying to draw a headline.

"Did you watch his after-fight speech?" Velasquez said with a laugh. "Maybe it's coming from that, I don't know."

Rothwell cut a pro-wrestling style promo after his submission win over Matt Mitrione at UFC Fight Night: Boetsch vs. Henderson on Saturday night in New Orleans. He finished off what seemed like a scripted speech with a maniacal laugh.

The whole thing was quite funny, but Rothwell seemed to be very serious when he essentially accused Velasquez of taking illegal substances.

"Let's see what happens after July 1, when the advance testing starts kicking in," said Rothwell, an admitted former testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) user. "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 1. If anyone takes offense to that, maybe they ought to look at themselves and look at their problems."

Velasquez, who will attempt to unify the heavyweight belt against Fabricio Werdum on Saturday, felt like Rothwell's implications came out of nowhere. The former Arizona State wrestling All-American thought it was odd that Rothwell would make those statements.

"Yeah, definitely it is," Velasquez said. "Not being a guy who's known for his physique, known for not being on anything. I've been tested before numerous times, before and after all my fights the day of. Again, watch his after-fight speech and you can find out where he's coming from."

Of course, not all drug users have bulging muscles and ripped abs. Velasquez, though, denies taking PEDs.

The 32-year-old said he was not tested out of competition before the fight with Werdum, but expects to be tested Saturday. That lack of random testing will be over starting in July when the UFC installs a new, stringent drug policy headed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Every fighter on the roster will be tested on average 5.5 times per year under the new model. Velasquez is a fan of the broadening of the anti-doping regulations, which had previously been bound to athletic commission rules that lacked teeth.

"That's great," Velasquez said. "I think we all need to be on the same playing field. So for them to finally be really strict on this is great for the sport. I know what I'm doing as far as what I'm doing to help me in fighting and I want my opponent to be on the same level."

The new policy stipulates that fighters will have to make themselves available for tests any time USADA wants -- wherever they are in the world. Velasquez said he's completely cool with that.

"Doesn't matter to me," Velasquez said with a laugh. "You want to test me right now?"