Tom Aspinall: Road to UFC Gold

Published on 19 November 2023 at 20:00

The Wigan-born fighter has become the real deal in the UFC after becoming the Interim UFC Heavyweight champion at UFC 295. Tom is now the third English fighter to have won a title in the MMA promotion as he joins former Middleweight champion, Michael Bisping, and the current Welterweight champion, Leon Edwards. Now that he has become one of the top Heavyweights in MMA, it's time to look back at Tom Aspinall's career from his MMA debut to his title glory at Madison Square Garden.

Before his UFC Arrival

Aspinall made his MMA debut back in 2014 where he grabbed his first victory in Manchester after winning by Submission against Michael Piszczek. Tom entered British MMA promotion, BAMMA, where he was gradually becoming a potential star in the sport after winning twice in the first round, one by a Heel Hook Submission in 49 seconds and another by TKO in just nine seconds.

At BAMMA 21, Aspinall experienced his first loss after submitting to a Heel Hook late in the second round against former Bellator and current PFL fighter, Stuart Austin. Tom would fight with MMA company, FCC, where he was rather successful after achieving a first-round TKO win and a knockout victory, despite losing another Heavyweight bout at BAMMA due to a disqualification for illegal elbows.

The English fighter would not be involved in another MMA matchup for just under three years as during this time he would prepare for a Boxing bout against Hungarian fighter, Tamas Bajzath. Aspinall fought and won in Manchester for his pro Boxing debut after knocking out Bajzath in the first round. This has been Tom's only professional Boxing match since. 

After having an incredible finish rate in his MMA career and looking like a true prospect, Tom Aspinall joined Cage Warriors where well-known British MMA fighters have come from before fighting in the UFC. Tom would have two successful bouts at Cage Warriors where he achieved two first-round TKO victories in Liverpool which would then lead him to sign with the Ultimate Fighting Championships.


The Rise of Aspinall

Aspinall made his UFC debut in Abu Dhabi during Covid-19 restrictions. He impressively shined on his debut after beating Jake Collier by TKO in 45 seconds of the first round where shortly after he would be awarded with a Performance of the Night (POTN) bonus. Tom would win one more time in Abu Dhabi with another first-round TKO win against Alan Baudot.

At UFC Vegas 19, Aspinall faced the former UFC Heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, where he had the opportunity to enter the Heavyweight rankings. Tom would earn his first-ever second-round win in MMA career after defeating the Belarusian by a Rear-Naked Choke and earned a POTN bonus as well. The Greater Manchester fighter became the #13 UFC Heavyweight contender and would maintain his rank after finishing Serghei Spivac in the first round by TKO with another POTN bonus.

The Wigan warrior finally had the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd in a UFC bout as he was set to face Alexander Volkov in London. Tom did not disappoint in front of his home crowd as he defeated the Russian with a Straight Armlock in the first round and become the #5 Heavyweight contender. Aspinall would once again fight in London in the same year as he faced Curtis Blaydes. Unfortunately, the Heavyweight bout ended in devastating fashion for the Englishman as a knee injury would occur 15 seconds into the fight which would be awarded as a TKO win for Blaydes but a loss for Aspinall.

After one year of inactivity due to his injury, Aspinall would return back in front of the London fans to fight Marcin Tybura. It was clear that his recent injury did not affect this fight as he won in the first round, picking up his ninth TKO career win and a POTN bonus. This would maintain the British fighter's ranking to #5 although, a couple of months later this would change to #4.


UFC Champion

A UFC Heavyweight Championship bout was set between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic at UFC 295 in November, however, a pectoral injury saw the undisputed champion pull out of the main event. 

Tom Aspinall would be called in to fight the original backup fighter for the cancelled main event, Sergei Pavlovich, on two weeks notice. Both fighters had seven fights in the UFC, both with six wins which all ended by a finish via KO/TKO or Submission. This matchup would be for the Interim UFC Heavyweight title in the Co-Main Event for UFC 295.

A highly anticipated fight ended in quick fashion as Tom Aspinall knocked out Sergei Pavlovich in just over a minute to become the Interim champion of the weight division. This would make the Englishman the 24th UFC Interim champion and the 22nd UFC Heavyweight champion in UFC history.

Aspinall just has one more dream and that is to face the considered G.O.A.T of the UFC, Jon Jones, for the undisputed Heavyweight belt. Do you believe Tom Aspinall will become the undisputed UFC Heavyweight champion? What is next for the Englishman?


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


Instagram: charlie_oxtoby

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Twitter: @Charlie_Oxtoby1

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