While Tom Aspinall was flying slightly under the radar through UFC London fight week, there’s no doubt the Heavyweight contender is now a fan-favorite in his own right. Aspinall absolutely crushed the typically durable Alexander Volkov, taking him down and tapping him to a sneaky straight armbar just 3:45 into the first round (watch highlights here).
After the bout at the post-fight press conference, a relaxed and confident Aspinall basked in his victory and all the attention it’d earned him.
“Couldn’t have gone any better,” he declared. “That was the ideal performance. I truly thought it was going to go five rounds. To get Volkov — who’s been finished twice in 45 fights — out of there in the first round ... just shows credit to my finishing ability. It’s the highest of the high level.
“I do like knocking people out, I will be be honest,” he continued. “To me, knocking people out is better than a submission. But, I’ll take the submission over the five rounds any day. That’s one of my favorite submissions. If I trap you in half guard, me and my dad have drilled that for years and years. If I get you in half guard, it’s my favorite spot, so ... you ain’t moving.
“I didn’t really show much, which ... I’ll keep it that way every time if I can,” he said later. “I want to be the biggest mystery in heavyweight MMA. These people think they know about me. Nobody knows me. These people think they know what they’re up against. Nobody knows what they’re up against. So let’s keep it a secret.”
Asked about fighting in front of fans for the first time in his UFC career, Aspinall said it was all positive.
“Everything I dreamed of and more. Unbelievable,” he said. “I saw a lot of media and people saying, ‘Ah, he’s gonna feel the pressure when he fights in front of a crowd.’ ‘He’s going to feel the pressure with someone like Volkov who’s a veteran.’ Other people might feel the pressure. Other people aren’t me. I’m different.”
Following his fast submission win over Volkov, Aspinall called out No. 3-ranked Tai Tuivasa. At the post-fight press conference, Aspinall explained his reasoning for the choice.
“Big fan of Tai, shout out to Tai,” Aspinall said. “The reason I called out Tai is first of all I’m a massive fan of his style. Second, I’m a massive fan of his personality. And the crowd goes wild when he fights. And apparently, the crowd goes wild when I fight. So me and him in the UK? Come on bro, what a good time that would be. Let’s line it up, next UK card let’s get me and Tai on it. Please.
“I’m a shoey virgin at the moment, but if Tai wants to do one, I would,” he said.
Through his previous four wins in UFC it seemed like Aspinall was being overlooked by many. Heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou admitted he didn’t know who Aspinall was, and coming into UFC London, Tom revealed he’d never spoken to Dana White.
That’s changed now.
“We had a good chat and I said, ‘Listen, I don’t want to fly anywhere else. I want to bring the UFC here,’” Aspinall said. “We need — the UK is doing so well. Stop flying us to other places. We don’t want to go to Abu Dhabi and Las Vegas and all that. We’ve done that. We’ve done that in COVID, so let’s now bring it here.
“This is where it’s at,” he concluded. “This is where MMA is at now. And we got so many good fighters. Let’s bring it here again this year.”
For complete UFC London: “Volkov vs. Aspinall” results and play-by-play, click HERE.