UFC heavyweight Tom Aspinall is expecting to be in the toughest matchup possible when he returns to action against Curtis Blaydes this summer.
In just five fights, Aspinall has grown from a promising prospect to a bonafide contender in the UFC’s heaviest weight class. After impressive finishes of Jake Collier, Alan Baudot, and former champion Andrei Arlovski established his name in the Octagon, his most recent appearances have cemented his place high up the ladder.
First came a co-main event TKO of Sergey Spivak at UFC Vegas 36 last September. When that secured him a steep step-up in competition, the Manchester native was unfazed. Headlining the UFC’s first trip to London since 2019, Aspinall thrilled his home crowd by submitting former Bellator titleholder and six-time UFC main-eventer Alexander Volkov.
Now, as he prepares for a second consecutive main event in front of his adoring home fans, Aspinall is fully aware of the challenge in front of him.
Aspinall Relishes “Toughest” Challenge Blaydes
On July 23, the UFC will be returning to The O2 in London for its second UK-held card of the year. Among the many returning victors from the March 19 card will be Aspinall, who will be at the very top of the slate, where he’s been matched up with #4-ranked heavyweight Curtis Blaydes.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Aspinall suggested that Blaydes, who is renowned for his impressive wrestling abilities and improving standup game, is the toughest opponent in the division for him when it comes to style.
“Do you want my honest opinion? Curtis Blaydes is probably the toughest fight in the division for me, stylistically,” said Aspinall. “But, I’m okay with that, because it’ll push me to a whole new level. Mate, that pushes me to levels I’ve never been before, and that’s what I need.
“If I’m with somebody who’s gonna make me comfortable, I’m gonna stay exactly where I am and do the exact same work that I’ve been doing. If you’re gonna give me someone I think is a scary fight, you’re gonna give me fear and you don’t wanna see me scared because I end up doing stuff like I did in The O2 the last time I fought,” added Aspinall. “I end up doing some crazy stuff that no-one’s ever done before.”
Given that some believe Blaydes is again inching closer to a title shot, a victory over the American would place Aspinall in a solid position when it comes to the championship conversation.
With Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic expected to collide in September, perhaps with interim gold on the line, the Englishman will be looking to place himself in and around the two legends with a second London triumph on July 23.
Do you agree with Tom Aspinall’s assessment? If Curtis Blaydes his toughest stylistic matchup?