Tom Aspinall’s comeback bout at UFC Fight Night London went to perfection as he made light work of Marcin Tybura to propel him to heavyweight stardom.
Aspinall exorcised the demons of his horrific knee injury that he sustained in the O2 last year against Curtis Blaydes by obliterating Tybura in just 73 seconds.
Aspinall started the exchange with a vicious head kick as the London faithful chanted his name at will. Spurred on by the crowd and the sheer magnitude of the moment, Aspinall went from strength to strength and landed a brutal elbow which put Tybura on retreat.
He then followed it up with a devastating right hand that floored the big Pole and forced Marc Goddard to call a stop to the main event that barely made it past the minute mark.
Aspinall’s demons were flushed out in empathic fashion and his celebration epitomised a man who was full of both relief and elation.
“It’s been a really tough year for me,” Aspinall told UFC Press after the fight. “I wasn’t myself last year and this is a whole new version of me.
“I’m not going to say that I’m back because this is a different version of me. That seemed like an easy fight, but Marcin is a really tough guy, let’s give him a cheer guys because that guy is a really tough human being.”
Aspinall now has clear intentions of what’s next. He plans to travel to Paris to confront the winner of Cyril Gane and Serghei Spivac, organise a fight with said winner, beat them, and then move on to a title fight with current champion Jon Jones.
That’s easier said than done, but Aspinall is more than capable of achieving such an unprecedented feat.
Nobody has ever swatted Tybura aside like that. The sheer quality and speed of the finish is something that we’ve become accustomed to seeing with Aspinall.
In his seven fights in the UFC, excluding his annulled bout with Blaydes, Aspinall has finished all of his opponents inside the first round, except for one. He also has the second shortest average fight time in the organisation’s history, spending on average just one minute and eight seconds inside the Octagon.
He is truly the real deal and it’s only right he is rewarded with a shot at the heavyweight throne. A date with Jones remains in the balance, as the champion may well retire following his showdown with Stipe Miocic at UFC 295 in November.
For now, Aspinall is just happy that Jones has acknowledged his existence.
“Jon Jones knows I exist,” Aspinall told reporters at his UFC Fight Night post-fight news conference. “Woo-hoo! That’s a win in itself.
“I want to win my fights going forward, of course. But also, another goal of mine is I want to motivate Jon Jones to stick around and fight me. That is my absolute dream.”
Nobody has been able to figure out the Jones code since he arrived on the UFC scene back in 2008, but Aspinall feels he is the solution.
“I think I match up well,” Aspinall said. “I’m fast, I’m strong, I’m heavy, which is unlike a lot of his opponents who he’s fought in the past. I just think I bring something different to him, and I think he knows that.”
Jones has only one fight in the heavyweight division under his belt, but it was against one of the hottest properties the UFC has to offer in Cyril Gane and the execution of the Frenchman was swift by Jones.
Aspinall is the next candidate with aspirations of de-throning Jones, but will he be around to accommodate the Englishman’s dream?
Up first, it will surely be a fight with the winner of Gane and Spivac or potentially Sergei Pavlovich, the number one ranked heavyweight who has steamrolled through the division since his arrival.
By no means will this be an easy navigation for Aspinall with such heavy hitters in his way.