Back in the spotlight after a lengthy absence, Tom Aspinall is ready to prove that he should be a champion in the UFC. He competes for the interim UFC heavyweight title against Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295, which takes place at Madison Square Garden on November 11.
Aspinall vs. Pavlovich replaces a heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic. Jones, the champion, injured himself while training, and this replacement fight was booked on two weeks’ notice.
However, Aspinall has been preparing throughout his career and discussed this with fellow Brit Michael Bisping.
“He just told me, ‘Listen, don’t focus on the two weeks you’ve been training. This is a lifetime of work going into it,’” Aspinall told UFC.com regarding Bisping’s advice. “I’ve sacrificed so much to be where I am now. It’s not been two weeks of work. It’s been 15 years of work, even longer (than that). I’ve been training with my dad since I was like eight, nine years old. This has been a lifetime of work.”
A winner of five performance bonuses, Aspinall has a chance to win gold in “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” joining Leon Edwards as the second active English champion in the UFC.
The Sporting News now looks into the career of Aspinall, a fighter ready to show the world what he can do at UFC 295.
Tom Aspinall record, bio
Born in the Greater Manchester Area, Aspinall has a 13-3 record in the cage, with 10 wins via knockout.
Aspinall started training in Jiu-Jitsu and boxing, and won the British Open in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The 30-year-old turned pro in 2014, competing for BAMMA and Cage Warriors. Before joining Cage Warriors, the Brit competed in a boxing contest, knocking out Tamas Bajzath in 2017. Aspinall entered the octagon in 2020 and is 6-1 in the UFC.
Aspinall had a setback when he tore his MCL and meniscus against Curtis Blaydes after planting his foot back on the canvas following a leg kick. It took him a year to recover.
“I think that pre-injury Tom Aspinall and post-surgery Tom Aspinall are two completely different people,” Aspinall told BT Sport via MMA Junkie. “I think before, everything was going well, and I was just blasé about the whole thing… And I didn’t realize how much I loved this sport and how much I want to do it until it was potentially taken away from me. I had no idea how much I am desperate for greatness until it was almost taken away from me. Now I wake up every morning and I can’t wait to go to the gym and train.”
Aspinall returned to action in July 2023, beating Marcin Tybura via TKO in the same arena where he injured himself. Ranked fourth in the heavyweight rankings, Aspinall looks to win interim gold and secure his spot as the top heavyweight contender at MSG.