Aspinall “ready to accept greatness” ahead of return to the O2

UFC Fight Night makes its eagerly anticipated return to London this Saturday as Tom Aspinall (5) looks to re-ignite his heavyweight intentions against Marcin Tybura (10) at the O2 Arena.  

It’s been just over a year since the UFC’s heavyweight hotshot Aspinall suffered a devastating knee injury that derailed his rise through the division.  

Facing off against Curtis Blaydes at UFC Fight Night in London last year, Aspinall was favourite to wipe out one of the gatekeepers of the heavyweight division and staple his right to a title shot against then-champion, Francis Ngannou.  

He picked up five stoppage victories in the UFC leading up to the fight, with many labelling him as a future champion.   

However, just 15 seconds into the bout, Aspinall came off worse when he struck Blaydes with a nasty leg kick and collapsed to the canvas clutching his knee in agony.  

Aspinall revealed a few days after his loss that he had suffered a torn MCL and had suffered some ACL damage too. 

“I feel like I need to go back to the O2 Arena and absolutely spark someone”, Aspinall told BT Sport earlier this year. 

“I couldn’t be happier that they’re putting me on the O2, as a main event as well. The same spot that it happened. Almost a year later to the day. 

“I’ve got a lot to prove, I’ve got a chip on my shoulder and these heavyweights are in for a bad time now, let me tell you.” 

Aspinall seems more determined than ever to right the wrongs of last year’s horror show at the O2, with victory for the Salford man this time around potentially propelling him to his dream fight.  

“A win for Aspinall is big. Imagine if we could end up with an England vs. Jon Jones Fight”, Dana White told UFC on TNT Sports earlier this week.  

Aspinall has spoken about being ready for “greatness” and how everything in his life is aligned for him to become UFC heavyweight champion. 

A win against Tybura and Aspinall may just get that shot but will of course have to wait until Jones defends the heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic at UFC 295 in November. Ciryl Gane (2) and Sergei Pavlovich (1) will also be candidates for a title shot at some stage in the near future. 

The UFC is set to return to London in March 2024 so should Ciryl Gane defeat Sergehi Spivac at UFC Fight Night in Paris on September 2nd, then it would be silly not to set up Aspinall vs Gane to determine the next candidate for the title. 

First, Aspinall must navigate past Marcin Tybura- a UFC veteran who has hopes of rekindling his own personal aspirations. 

Often, fighters have underestimated the capabilities of the Polish powerhouse and Aspinall is keen not to fall into the same trap. 

During a recent interview with The Mac Life’s Oscar Willis, Aspinall said, “a lot of the people have lost to him because they look past him, he’s the best opponent that I’ve ever fought.” 

The permutations surrounding this bout are tantalising. With several heavyweight prospects on standby, Aspinall is once again in a position to cement himself as the leading candidate as he looks to banish the demons from the O2 this Saturday.

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