Tom Aspinall is willing to gradually work his way to the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight division.
The Team Kaobon product earned his fourth straight promotional triumph — and seventh in a row overall — at UFC Fight Night 191, where he stopped Sergey Spivak with an elbow and follow-up punches 2:30 into the opening round of their heavyweight co-main event clash. Aspinall, who was originally supposed to face Sergey Pavlovich on the card, was able to adjust relatively easily to the new opponent and snap Spivak’s three-bout winning streak.
“I’ve actually trained for Spivak before, even though we didn’t fight. I know what Spivak’s all about. Spivak’s a very, very durable guy,” Aspinall said at the post-fight press conference. “I’m not trying to sound cocky or anything, but I was in first gear in that fight because I know he waits for his opponents to get tired before he starts to attack. I was just taking my time in there. I wasn’t doing explosive movements or throwing a million shots. I was just feeling my way into the fight, really. But massive respect to Sergey, taking the fight on a week’s notice – what a man.”
Aspinall has established himself as an intriguing new contender, but that doesn’t mean he wants to force his way into high-profile matchups just yet. The Englishman would rather wait before facing the top talents in the heavyweight division.
“I need a lot more experience before I fight those guys. I’m not ready for those guys yet,” he said. “This doesn’t mean I’m not confident. This does not mean I’m not confident. This means I’m very confident in my ability, but I’m also confident that I need to be ready to beat these guys. I’m not in a rush. I’ve just turned 28. I’ve got another 10 years, and people better get used to seeing me around because I ain’t going anywhere.”
With that in mind, Aspinall would like to continue on his current path, and he has an opponent in mind to help keep him on the right track.
“I want to fight a ranked guy. I know Sergey was ranked. I just want to fight guys that are around my ranking. I believe in earning a title shot. I don’t believe in the hype train pushing you to a title shot,” Aspinall said. “I want to fight a guy above me. Some guy who just interviewed me brought up Blagoy Ivanov – that’s a fight I would love. He’s a durable guy. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s been around a long time, and he is so, so tough. And I want to see how my power and speed does against somebody like that.”