"It's been an extremely hard road, a hard training camp for me," he told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps
). "There have been some obstacles to test me, to say the least. It's been a test, both mentally and physically. But here I am. I'm going to fight Saturday, and I made it through these trials. And that's it. I made it here, and I'm standing here with you."
The injuries, which forced him out of a planned August bout with Travis Browne, came at a terrible time for the former IFL and Affliction fighter. After winning 13 straight fights from 2005 to 2007, Rothwell went just 2-3 afterward, and it included UFC losses to Cain Velasquez and Mark Hunt.
But he regrouped, showed off a slimmed-down physique, and then scored a "Knockout of the Night" performance over favorite Brendan Schaub at UFC 145. But that fight was nine months ago, and that momentum now seems long ago. On Saturday, there's the threat of ring rust, and Rothwell is obviously fighting in hostile territory by facing a veteran Brazilian fighter. Additionally, Rothwell's primary coaches couldn't make the trip to Sao Paulo with him.
That's reason enough to doubt his chances on Saturday, but Rothwell has a saving grace: coaches Luiz Claudio and Thiago Veiga. Both are Brazilian, and both have put Rothwell at ease this week after months of uncertainty.
"I don't want to get into details, but it's been both (physical and personal problems)," he said. "I'm recovering from the injury, things with my body. I've had other things going on. I have some coaches here helping me, but my main two coaches weren't able to make it with me out here, so I've just had some hard things to deal with.
"But I love Brazil. Brazil changed my life. I guess [Brazilian fans] don't know that. They don't realize how much my coaches from here have come here and are helping me. ... I'm a gringo, but I'm trained by Brazilians, and they've taken really good care of me. I've got Brazil on my back in a sense."