UFC Vegas 36: Tom Aspinall knows he can't afford to look past Sergey Spivak

  • Tom Ward
Tom Aspinall will face Sergey Spivak in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 36 on September 4.

Tom Aspinall will take the pressure of being the chief support to Derek Brunson and Darren Till in his stride when he fights at the UFC Apex on Saturday night. 

Aspinall, 28, will fight Sergey Spivak in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 36 on September 4, shortly before his teammate Till makes the walk to the cage. 

And the former professional boxer admits a fear of failure does creep into his psyche before a fight.

However, he doesn’t see fear as a bad thing, but instead uses it as a tool to make him a better fighter.  

“I’m probably one of the most scared guys ever to step inside the Octagon,” Aspinall told GIVEMESPORT.

“But, me and fear, have a good relationship, we have a very, very good relationship, and I’ve got a very good understanding with fear, so I don’t have a problem with it.

“The more scared I am, the better I’m going to fight. In my last fight, it was probably the most scared I’ve ever been in my life, that went pretty good.

“I really understand how I can use fear to like, help me. Not a lot of people understand fear too well, but I don’t run away from it, man, I go with it.

“I don’t try and fight with the fear, I go with it, and it helps me.”

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The Team Kaobon fighter impressed in his last fight, submitting MMA legend Andrei Arlovski via rear-naked choke in the second round in Las Vegas.

The expectation going into that fight was that Aspinall would be too much to handle for the Belarusian-American, who had previously been knocked out by former champ Stipe Miocic and UFC titleholder Francis Ngannou, but the Lancashireman knew he could ill afford to take his eye off the ball. 

“Yeah, I mean, I was fighting someone I’ve always looked up to for one,” he added.

“And another thing is, in my personal opinion, this is no knock on Arlovski, but if you can’t beat Arlovski, then you’re going to struggle to win a title in my opinion with where he’s at in his career.

“I know he’s beat a lot of prospects recently, like he’s beat a lot of guys who are in my position, I think he beat like three or four before me.

“And he’s just beat Chase Sherman as well, who was in a similar kind of position, he was on a bit of a tear before he fought him, but like, I think of myself pretty highly, to be honest, I think I’m a serious talent in this division.

“So like, I think if you can’t beat Arlovski, a guy who’s in his early 40s, even though he’s a legend, and everything, like, I’m not going to achieve what I want to achieve, which is, is to win a title one day.”

Tom Aspinall will face Sergey Spivak in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 36 on September 4.

Unlike his divisional rival Ciryl Gane, however, Aspinall is in no rush to jump into a title shot anytime soon. 

Almost a year and a half on from making his debut, Aspinall has chalked up three wins inside the Octagon and is moving along steadily, which is exactly the way he likes it. 

“I think I’m a long way away from a title shot, I think I’m at least a couple of years away, so I’m just taking my time,” he explained.

“Gane is on his own path, and he’s doing really well, so me and Gane are on completely different paths, but fair play to him, he is doing his thing, I’m doing mine.

“I’m sure we will meet in the future but for right now I’m taking a little bit slower than than he is.

“It’s going to be a while off, it’s going to be a while off, you know, I hate to give you a boring answer, but this guy I’m fighting is good and dangerous.

“So I’m not really thinking past that, man, I’ve got a big task in front of me next week, and I’m fully focused on that at the moment.”

Catch UFC FIGHT NIGHT ®: BRUNSON vs. TILL at Prime Time on Saturday night with the main card live from 9.00pm on BT Sport 2, with the early prelims live exclusively on Fight Pass from 6.30pm.

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