Aspinall makes history to become first British UFC interim heavyweight champion

Tom Aspinall made history at UFC 295 on Saturday as he obliterated Sergei Pavlovich to become the first British interim heavyweight champion in the UFC and potentially set up a future date with Jon Jones. 

Aspinall took just 69 seconds to knock out Pavlovich as he continued his hot streak of getting his business done earlier inside the Octagon.  

The Brit took the fight on two weeks’ notice after current heavyweight champion Jon Jones had his showdown with Stipe Miocic taken off the card after pulling out with a pectoral issue. 

Despite the reputation that Aspinall has built since joining the UFC back in 2020, nobody could have approximated that he would swat Pavlovich aside like that. The Polish powerhouse has built a similar portfolio of destruction in the UFC but was made out to be light work for Aspinall. 

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Pavlovich had recorded six straight first-round knockouts before UFC 295 and Aspinall admitted afterwards that he was “nervous” heading into the fight and to knock out Pavlovich was an “absolute dream”. 

“I know loads of people thought I was going to lose,” he told TNT Sports. 

“I was fighting an absolute steamroller who was running through everybody. To knock him out, what an absolute dream. Nobody expected that, not even me. 

“I have a lot of power in my hands. Most of all I have something very special, I can make split-second decisions under a lot of pressure, and I believe only greats, only champions, can do that.  

“When there’s that much pressure and that big Russian fella is running up to you swinging, you have to make a decision like that and not everybody can do it.” 

Aspinall now has his sights set on a date with Jon Jones, who tweeted after the fight and congratulated the Salford man on his monumental victory, stating: “Tom congratulations on the interim heavyweight championship belt! That was an awesome performance.” 

Jones’ date with Miocic will most likely be rescheduled for early 2024 and Aspinall will be eagerly awaiting the outcome to see who he’ll be fighting for the heavyweight title. However, don’t rule out Dana White scrapping Jones vs Miocic and instead opting to give Aspinall- as he calls it- his “dream fight.” 

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