Ben Rothwell has admitted that he was "disheartened" upon hearing that Stipe Miocic would be facing Andrei Arlovski at UFC 195 in January next year.
Rothwell had been scheduled to face Miocic at UFC Fight Night 76 in Dublin, but the bout was cancelled after Miocic suffered an injury. Following that setback, Rothwell called out Arlovski as he wanted to fight the 36-year-old in the co-main event at UFC 195.
But, instead of seeing his request granted, Rothwell was snubbed in favour of Miocic, which didn't sit well with the Wisconsin native.
"I'm disheartened," he told MMA Junkie. "I've been rallying for a fight with Andrei for a whole week while in Ireland. I felt a lot of good vibes, a lot of traction … I just felt people wanted to see the fight.
"Two weeks ago, Stipe pulled out of the fight. Here I am, in Ireland. I'm here to fight and ready to go. Somehow, the guy that's injured, that I was supposed to fight, now gets to fight the guy I've been asking for. It makes no sense whatsoever."
Rothwell conceded that it was tough to understand how Miocic had gone from being injured to booking himself a co-main event fight with Arlovski in January, while he had been cast aside and left without an opponent.
"I'm not going to talk about what's fair because there is nothing fair in this sport, so let's get past that," he said. "I just, fair or not, I'm just completely blindsided. I mean if Andrei got matched up with somebody else, fine, whatever.
"But to get matched up with the guy I'm supposed to fight that's not here to fight; the fight is Saturday and this is all getting announced, the fight hasn't happened. It's absurd."
The 34-year-old spoke to UFC officials about the issue, but revealed that he was less than impressed with the answer he received.
"I said, 'Why is [Miocic] getting rewarded?' And they're like, 'It's not a reward, he's ranked third, Andrei's ranked fourth. We're just putting it together because of rankings'," he said. " It doesn't make sense. I mean Alistair Overeem is ranked behind me and he's fighting the No. 1 contender in Junior Dos Santos.
"I mean, we are all in the top 10, let us fight each other. I'm the guy that's been calling out Andrei, isn't that worth anything? They've been telling us for years that fighters need to call out guys.
"I've been calling out the top dudes for the last year now and not one of the fights I've been asking for has been (made). So, I don't get it, it's obvious frustration."