Aspinall has caused a stir since joining the UFC, not only winning all five bouts from afar, but showing his reach with devastating power as well as formidable grappling skills.
Beating Alexander Volkov via armbar submission in a raucous O2 Arena in March catapulted Aspinall up the heavyweight rankings and he could enter the top five by beating Blaydes on July 23 in London.
Francois Ngannou is the current champion but is recovering from major knee surgery, and although there are others ahead of Aspinall in the queue for a shot, the Briton is optimistic about the future.
“I believe that one day I will be a UFC champion at some point in the next 10 years before I retire,” he said. “I don’t care who fights who, how it goes, who beats who, who wins and who loses.
“All of this is irrelevant to me, I have a strong belief that I’m going to be UFC champion one day and it will work out.
“I am one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC, I have the best finishing record in the UFC and I have different finishes at all positions.
“I can win anywhere, which is quite rare, especially for heavyweights. I can finish the fight from any position.
While he seems optimistic about what lies ahead, Aspinall was adamant his only target is Blaydes, a more experienced campaigner with victories over Junior dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Chris Daukaus.
Only Ngannou and heavy hitter Derrick Lewis beat Blaydes, a professional wrestler with the record for most takedowns in UFC history (62) but who also has 11 knockouts in his 15 wins in mixed martial arts.
“I’m not at all interested in looking past Curtis,” Aspinall said. “It would be stupid to look past someone so good. Certainly on paper, this is the toughest test of my career.
“He’s the guy everyone avoids in the division, I’m fully aware of that but if everyone avoids him, it makes me want to fight him more.”
Aspinall has been traveling back and forth to the Netherlands for training camps as every day for the past year he has immersed himself in freezing water in a bid to build up his mental toughness.
“I have an ice bath, I take cold showers, I’m into it all,” the 29-year-old said. “It’s something I recently started myself, but I’m feeling the benefits overwhelmingly.
“If you can stay calm when you’re completely frozen, you’re more likely to stay calm in other situations as well, in my opinion.”
Aspinall’s clash against Volkov headlined the UFC’s first event in London since Covid-19, while the Wigan native will headline again this month.
He knows he can play in the most tense moments, which he welcomes although he admits there will be nerves before stepping into the octagon.
“This is the life I chose,” he said. “If I didn’t want to do that, I would do something else like work in an office or in a garage, something that doesn’t require any pressure.
“I have to accept the pressure and I appreciate the pressure. When I stop feeling like that, I’ll probably stop fighting and do something else that brings me the same kind of feelings.
I believe I will be a UFC champion in the next 10 years – Tom Aspinall
Source link I believe I will be a UFC champion in the next 10 years – Tom Aspinall