LONDON — Tom Aspinall has his sights set on the UFC heavyweight championship and he believes his time with another heavyweight champion put him on that path.
On Saturday, Aspinall — No. 12 in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings — fights No. 7 Alexander Volkov in the UFC London main event. Aspinall is 4-0 in the UFC with four finishes and a win over Volkov would put him at the front of the contenders’ line.
At Wednesday’s media day, Aspinall spoke about how past training sessions with heavyweight boxing king Tyson Fury took his career to another level.
“I think Tyson Fury’s helped me the most mentally,” Aspinall said. “Obviously, I improved a lot. My skill set improved, my boxing improved, definitely. It brought me a long way skill-wise. But more so mentally. If Tyson Fury ever gets a watch of this, ‘Thank you.’ I’ve never actually had the chance to thank him for it. He has completely changed my career and the outlook of what I’ve got on combat and fighting.
“Without him I wouldn’t be where I am right now because my mentality’s changed completely since I trained with him. It was quite a long time ago now, I was in my early 20s, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to carry on with this sport or box or maybe stop fighting altogether. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and yeah, he just completely changed my whole outlook on everything so I appreciate it.”
Watch Aspinall’s full media day scrum above in which he also discusses wanting to get the chance to show more of his all-around game, treating Volkov like any other opponent, the UFC bringing in a potential backup for Saturday’s main event, and more.
José Youngs contributed to this report on site.