But the ingenious Briton took over, posting on Instagram that there was now “More time for me to prepare mentally and physically.”
More time to prepare for anything is good, but even if the 26-year-old Salford native is only 7-2 years old as a professional mixed martial artist. He has already proven that he is ready for prime time, even though he did not know it was time.
“I always expected to be in the UFC the first time I started fighting, to be honest,” said Aspinall. “Maybe it’s not something I expected right after my last fight, but I knew it could happen anytime, so I was ready for it.”
And at this point in his career, the options were getting a little thin on the national circuit, and his promoter, Cage Warriors, said as much after winning his two fights in 2019 in two minutes and 17 seconds combined.
It was a situation similar to that of Aspinall in 2016. He had a 5-2 record, finishing all of his wins in the first round, and many eyes were fixed on him. His call to the UFC was discussed, but Aspinall wanted to gain more experience. Then, a look at the local heavyweight scene, coupled with positive combat work with Tyson Fury, prompted him to leave MMA to kick box. It was obvious, especially to work with the Fury team and to fight in a country where heavyweight boxing is still a big livelihood. But not everything was as it seemed to Aspinall.
“You would think he was a big money maker, but it turns out that he is not,” he said. “In short, I had a hard time getting my boxing license because I was an MMA fighter. They didn’t want to license me because MMA is like a rival sport and that’s exactly how it is here. ”
Aspinall would eventually get a license, and when he started in professional boxing, he only needed 84 seconds to stop Tamas Bajzath. But already disillusioned by the end of the sporting business and realizing that without a significant amateur background, the hill would be much more difficult to climb, he began to return to his original love.
“I started doing some MMA training again and realized that I liked MMA,” he said. “I love boxing, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think it’s something I could do for the next ten years of my life.”
He was back in the cage in 2019, and after those quick wins, the UFC came to call. And while there was a lot of hype behind signing and booking his first fight in the Octagon, those closest to him in Team Kaobon gymnasium in Liverpool, including UFC veterinarians Darren Till and Mike Grundy, advised him to keep all of this as normal as possible.
“People outside the gym who don’t know anything about MMA make it a big deal,” he said. “But the UFC coaches or fighters I spoke to told me to treat it like another fight. And that’s what I do. “
It can’t be easy, however, especially with a record like hers, which includes six wins in 1:21 or less and a finish of nine seconds. Most people would ask for Stipe Miocic after this race. But Aspinall is not most people.
“Maybe it’s my ego,” he laughs. “I have a decent ego, I think. If you had spoken to me five years ago, I would have jumped straight (to the UFC) and I did, but so many people are coming in and out directly and I don’t want to be that guy. I want to run the title and win the title. I don’t just want to come in and then be knocked out and leave right away and go back to square one. I try to learn from the mistakes of others, especially British guys. Lots of British guys enter, win one, lose two and that’s it; they are gone and you never hear from them again. I didn’t mean to be that guy. “
Looks like it won’t be. So what should fans of Mr. Aspinall’s UFC expect?
“They should expect a heavyweight who can do it all.”
And quickly, I guess?
“I would not mind a longer fight,” he said.
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