UFC heavyweight Tom Aspinall is still sponsored by Gym King despite Conor McGregor’s best efforts.
Pushing 277 pounds in the off-season after a devastating knee injury, Aspinall barely fits into a XXL and has gotten three USADA tests since posting a photo of his progress. Right now, he’s far more concerned about getting back into the cage than starting fights with his colleagues, which is why he’s confused about McGregor’s recent outburst toward him.
McGregor tried to go after Aspinall’s sponsor and tossed out a death threat after the UFC heavyweight said the Irish star’s comeback against Michael Chandler wasn’t at the top of his list, excitement-wise.
“I honestly don’t know [why he was so angry],” Aspinall said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I have so much respect for Conor, I would never disrespect him or anybody else. I’m not that kind of guy.
“I’m an adult, I ain’t trying to beef with nobody. If I’m trying to beef with anyone, I want to be someone in my division, so we can at least have a fight and make some money off it. No idea. Literally, all I said was, ‘I’m not as interested in Conor’s fight as I was in other fights coming up.’ That was it. No disrespect meant to anybody.”
Of course, McGregor isn’t known to have the thickest skin at times. The former two-division champion regularly erupts at slights real and imagined, and it may just have been Aspinall’s turn that day in Feburary. When McGregor’s tweets showed up on his timeline, he wasn’t sure they were real.
“I’m a massive fan,” Aspinall said. “Conor’s a massive inspiration for me. He’s an Irish guy, I’m an English guy – they’re really close to each other, and he’s done massive things in the sport. I was a bit like, ‘Wow, I didn’t mean to offend anybody.’”
McGregor is set to face Chandler sometime later this year as the standard season-ending fight between coaches on The Ultimate Fighter. The long-running reality show’s 31st season features the standout lightweights in McGregor’s first appearance since a broken leg ended his trilogy with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264.
Aspinall would like to return to the octagon by June, and he even accepted a fight with top-10 ranked Marcin Tybura live on the show. If Tybura is ready to sign a contract, he said he’ll show up for the fight.
But there’s one fight he doesn’t want, and that’s against the biggest star the UFC has ever produced.
“I don’t want a beef with nobody, bro,” Aspinall said. “We don’t need that kind of beef. But he’s angry about it, or he was – I don’t know how it feels at the moment. But who knows what he’s doing.”