Right now, the UFC is the top organization, I don't think there's any question about that. However, I think that suggesting that the best of the IFL might be "chumps" is a little silly. Rothwell has blown through everyone the IFL has sent at him, except for Big Country, as you mentioned. The IFL Heavyweight tournament is a pair of de facto title defenses for Big Ben.
I'd certainly like to see Rothwell take a shot at the UFC while he's in his prime, and I'd probably put him in the 3rd tier on his debut, with a decent chance to win. I'd probably pick Rothwell over Sanchez or Hardonk, and I think he could be competitive with guys like Mir, Herring, McCully and O'Brien. He'd be a clear underdog against Vera, Sylvia, Gonzaga, Cro Cop, or Kongo, but not massively so.
If anyone thinks that makes Rothwell a chump, you're not much of an MMA fan, imho.
Some numbers crunching here, if you're interested:
- Rothwell is 26-5. 15 wins by (T)KO, 4 by Submission Hold, 3 by Submission due to strikes, 2 by Submission due to injury. Only 1 win by Decision (a SD over Roy Nelson, as mentioned above).
- He's currently on a 12-match win streak, the last 8 in the IFL, covering a 24-month period. The collective record of those 11 fighters (Rothwell has defeated Krzysztof Soszynski twice during his streak) is 247-87-11 (.740), not counting the wins by Rothwell. However, that number is skewed tremendously by Travis Fulton's ridiculous 179-43-9 record.
- Removing Fulton, Rothwell's last 10 opponents have a collective record of 68-44-2 (.607), not counting the wins by Rothwell. That's not bad, but it's not great, either. It certainly supports the contention that he hasn't been fighting UFC-caliber fighters lately.