London, England — For Tom Aspinall, headlining the O2 Arena in London is still a big deal, even doing it for the second time in a row this weekend at UFC Lodon.
That said, the experience of having done it all before is a big boost for Aspinall (12-2) as he heads into his main event fight with Curtis Blaydes.
“There’s no replacement for experience, and I’ve done this before. So now I know exactly what to expect,” Aspinall told media outlets including Cageside Press during Wednesday’s UFC London media day. “Different opponent of course, completely different opponent. Better opponent. But I have done it before, so these things are getting a little bit easier to deal with, definitely.”
Aspinall has won eight straight, five in the UFC. The read on Aspinall vs. Blaydes has been this: Blaydes has smothering wrestling and powerful takedowns. Aspinall’s jiu-jitsu is outstanding. But for the British fighter, it’s never that simple.
“This is MMA. He’s a great wrestler, he’s great at other stuff as well. So I have to be expecting everything,” Aspinall observed. “Obviously he brings a massive threat in the wrestling department, so I’ve prepared for that. I’ve prepared for everything. This is MMA, do you know what I mean? You can’t just be like ‘oh he’s going to come out and just take me down.’ Obviously he’s got great takedowns, but I’m ready for his striking as well, as his submission game. You have to be ready for everything mate.”
Aspinall is ready and then some. Back in March, when he headlined the O2 against Alexander Volkov, Aspinall hinted there was a lot to his game he hadn’t shown. He reiterated that on Wednesday.
“I just have so much that I’ve not shown. And people don’t know what to expect. Nobody’s got any idea, Curtis or anybody else in the heavyweight division doesn’t know what I bring to the table, because I’ve not shown it yet. I’ve shown 10 percent of my game, because my octagon time is so short, no one’s really seen what I can really do. I have so much that nobody knows about, which is a massive advantage for me.”
While Aspinall isn’t looking past Blaydes — he requested the media not ask him about other fights on Wednesday — he did tell Cageside Press that with a win at UFC London, he intends to stay busy. There’ll be no sitting and waiting, campaigning for a title shot in other words.
“I think so. I’ve got a lot of work to do before I get to the belt, in my opinion,” Aspinall stated. “Yeah I’ll fight. If they want me to fight, I’ll fight. I’ve been really active, I think this is my seventh fight so that is quite active, especially for a top heavyweight. That’s really active actually. So yeah, I’ve been active so far, let’s keep it going. But I would imagine it’s going to slow down a little bit now, fighting the top guys and stuff. Whatever, I’m a fighter, I want to fight.”
Watch the full UFC London media day appearance from Tom Aspinall above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 23, 2022 at the O2 Arena in London, England.