“Hopefully Dana White and Las Vegas PD are not going to charge me with child abuse,” Andrei Arlovski joked ahead of his fight this weekend against Tom Aspinall. “It’s good. It’s 15 years difference between myself and Aspinall. I’m very excited. He’s tough. Strong, young, probably hungry. I’m ready to go.”
The truth is, nearly any opponent Arlovski (30-19, 2NC) fights these days is younger than him. The 42-year old from Belarus is one of the elder statesmen of the UFC heavyweight division, alongside Aleksei Oleinik, who also competes Saturday at UFC Vegas 19.
Aspinall will be the third straight “youngin” Arlovski has fought against. He enters the weekend off a pair of wins over Philipe Lins and Tanner Boser. At 35, Lins was the oldest. Boser and Aspinall are both shy of 30.
It’s a safe bet that the 27-year old Brit, Aspinall, will hold the speed advantage come Saturday. As to where Arlovski’s own advantage lies, “age and gray hair,” he quipped.
As he later noted, “I never choose my opponents, it’s totally up to the UFC and matchmakers.” But if Andrei Arlovski has any hope at one last run to the title, he’ll need to start fighting ranked opponents, and soon. Especially if he picks up a third straight win this weekend. “Hopefully one day I’m going to face somebody tough from top 10, even better top 5,” the former UFC heavyweight champ later admitted. But, as he noted, he’s one of several heavyweights waiting in line. “I have to keep winning, show good fights, and biggest thing is my game plan.”
Then there’s that life outside the cage. Arlovski is still chasing other pursuits, including acting. His fighting legacy makes a lot of sense for tough-guy roles, and he’s turned up in a couple of Universal Soldier movies, and The Equalizer 2, among other films. It’s still an area that interests him. Just not as much as fighting at the moment.
“I had an audition a couple of weeks before I came here. So hopefully, I’m going to be in a movie, so we’ll see,” Arlovski told Cageside Press at Thursday’s UFC Vegas 19 virtual media day, while staying mum on what he had tried out for. “But I’m focused on my MMA career. I have a dream, I have a goal, I just have to do what I have to do.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 19 virtual media day scrum with Andrei Arlovski above! The event takes place Saturday, February 20 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.