English heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall let his skills do the talking inside the octagon the last time the UFC was in London, then made sure the UFC’s big boss brought the octagon back for a second visit.
Aspinall played a starring role on a spectacular night of fights at the O2 Arena in March as a host of British fighters, roared on by nearly 20,000 raucous fans, produced a night to remember in the English capital.
And while Aspinall’s in-cage performance did plenty to help convince the UFC to return for a second show, which takes place on July 23 at the O2 Arena, the Brit said it was his conversation with White backstage that sealed the deal.
“It means a lot (to be back in London). And I think a big part of why we’re back here is because of me,” Aspinall told Fighters Only, and other reporters, at media day ahead of the event.
“I’m not trying to sound like mad egotistical or anything, but I think that without me pulling him to the side and like, ‘Look. We need to…’
“I wasn’t asking a question. I was like, ‘Oh, Dana, please can we come back?’ It was like, ‘Dana, we’re coming back here this year. Let’s make it happen.’ And he agreed with it.
“He couldn’t really say no, because it was an unbelievable night in March and there’s gonna be another unbelievable night this Saturday. It’s a special place to fight, and we’ve got special fighters on the card. So it can’t possibly be boring. It’s going to be absolutely wild.”
As he was back in March, Aspinall is the main event attraction once again as he gets set to face No. 4-ranked heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes on Saturday night.
And the rising heavyweight star, whose performances have prompted some analysts to label him as a future heavyweight champion, said his determination to keep his winning streak rolling will be there for all to see on fight night.
“I don’t talk about this stuff too much, because it’s just really not me, but I’m a winner – that’s all I care about,” he said.
“I want to win. I don’t care how I win. But I’m a fierce, fierce competitor. I’m fiercely competitive. And I’m trying to win. And that’s it.”
As for the fight with Blaydes, Aspinall said he wasn’t fully sure how he’ll get the job done on fight night, but he warned that there was much more to come from him that people hadn’t seen yet.
“I have no idea (how it’ll play out on fight night). We’re going to find out,” he said.
“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. So I have so much, so much that nobody knows about, which is a massive advantage for me.”