Surging heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall knows that he will have his hands full when he takes on perennial contender Curtis Blaydes last this summer but in even the face of what he calls the ‘toughest’ matchup for him in the division, the Englishman remains confident of his rise to the championship.
Aspinall is set to take on Blaydes in London in July, where he will return to the same venue in which he blitzed another heavyweight veteran in Alexander Volkov in March and speaking to the MMA Hour via MMA Fighting, Aspinall said that the dominant American wrestler is exactly the type of challenge he is looking for.
“If they’re coming back to the U.K., obviously I’m not going to miss that opportunity,” Aspinall stated. “That night in March, that was something special and if we have the opportunity to do anything even close to that again, I want to be a part of it. Why would I not? Why would I not want to be a part of something like that? I’m not going to pass that opportunity up, so we got it again. We’re going again. July 23, Aspinall vs. Blaydes, in the big smoke, in the O2 Arena, London, England, what more could you want?”
Any repeat of his last outing would be a welcome sight for UK MMA fans. On that night in March, Aspinall dominated the experienced Volkov on the feet before finished the fight with a straight armbar on the ground to signpost himself as a legitimate heavyweight contender — and doing the same against Blaydes would almost certainly put him in line for title contention.
He knows it won’t be easy, though.
“Curtis Blaydes is probably the toughest fight in the division for me stylistically,” Aspinall said. “But I’m okay with that because that pushes me to a whole new level. That pushes me to levels I’ve never been before, and that’s what I need. If I’m with someone that’s going to make me comfortable, I’m going to stay exactly where I am and do the exact same work that I’ve been doing.
“If you’re going to give me someone that I think is a scary fight and you’re going to give me fear, you don’t want to see me scared, because I end up doing stuff like I did in the O2 the time I fought. I end up doing some crazy stuff that I’ve never done before. So me with a massive fight with a really tough guy, that’s dangerous. That’s dangerous for any heavyweight.”