Now that Ben Rothwell is out of the UFC, and no longer having to wear a promotionally sponsored uniform, that meant the return of his cloak at BKFC 30.
Rothwell made the most of his BKFC debut when he steamrolled Bobo O’Bannon in just 19 seconds this past Saturday. The cloak — which he wore to the ring — isn’t just an article of clothing, but it helps Rothwell go to a different kind of headspace in order to prepare for what is about to happen.
“I’ve got things going on in my mind. How do I click into this? I have to visualize some pretty dark things and I don’t even want to talk about it because I don’t want to freak people out,” Rothwell said on The MMA Hour. “I go to a very dark place, I visualize it in my head that this person did things to me, he did this to my family, whatever. I click into a mode and standing there, I was all of that. To me, I was one of the most dangerous people on the planet in that moment.”
Rothwell wore the cloak while he was in the UFC, but that was before they signed an apparel deal with Reebok that launched in 2015. The 40-year-old says that he was able to wear it in his first fight of that year, but moving forward, he could no longer since he had to sport the required fight gear.
While it might seem like a small thing to some people, for Rothwell, not having that piece of clothing had an affect on who he was as a fighter.
“In 2015, when I came back and the cloak, I did it for Matt Mitrione and I was all of that,” Rothwell said. “For Josh Barnett, it wasn’t quite there. I came out, they made me take the cloak off right before I came out and it did f*** with me a little bit. I got a great win against Josh and right away in my interview, I was Ben, I was a happy guy, and I kind of wasn’t there. I got away with it, more or less.
“The fights after that, I was Ben Rothwell, I’m going to think about this, I was not who you saw [at BKFC 30]. I was not, and it cost me deeply. I lost a lot of fights that I should’ve won and it’s going to forever bother me that I left the UFC like that. The Marcos Rogerio de Lima fight, he got away with something in my mind. If you would’ve faced what happened [at BKFC 30], it would’ve been a totally different story, and i’ll never let that go.”
Proudly wearing his cloak, and tapping back into that violent competitor he once was, Rothwell believes that going back to those places was a giant weight of aggression that was lifted off of his shoulders.
“It’s like it was a long time coming, man, because I could’ve easily not gotten that opportunity for that to come out of me [again], and that would’ve bothered me more than anything,” Rothwell explained.
“I take it to a level when the person across from me is going to be fighting for their lives.”