Well-traveled heavyweight Blagoy Ivanov feels UFC Wichita opponent Ben Rothwell might just be one of the toughest heavyweights out there.
Wichita, Kansas — Former Bellator and WSOF heavyweight Blagoy Ivanov is back for his second walk to the octagon at UFC Wichita. The Bulgarian, who became famous outside the cage after surviving being stabbed in the chest in 2012, was given a tough test his first time out against Junior Dos Santos. The road isn’t getting any easier this weekend, mind you, as Ivanov has drawn the returning Ben Rothwell.
“It was a good experience for me, because I fought five rounds with a UFC champion,” he said of his UFC debut, speaking with reporters including Cageside Press ahead of UFC Wichita. “I spent twenty-five minutes in the cage with him. It’s very good experience.”
Hopefully he can put that experience to use against Rothwell. However, Ivanov has been out for eight months, the result of “an issue on my knee, from the fight with Junior.” Since that fight, he was forced to undergo surgery. The issue in question was a torn meniscus in his left knee. But with that healed, he’s focusing on putting pressure on opponents. More than he did in his last fight.
First up, ‘Big’ Ben Rothwell. “He’s one of the toughest guys in the heavyweights,” Ivanov acknowledged. “He’s the guy with the most time in the cage. He has a lot of fights.”
Recognizing that, he knows he’s in for “a tough fight.”
“But I think it will be harder for him, because he missed almost three years,” Ivanov added. “It will be harder for him.”
With his last fight being so long ago, Ivanov agreed that the early going of the fight might just be spent figuring out what Rothwell he’s facing after that extended layoff. After that, he’s looking to prove he belongs with the UFC’s heavyweights.