It’s fair to say that Tom Aspinall is feeling rather pleased with himself.
The Manchester MMA fighter headlined UFC Fight Night 204 last month at the O2 Arena in London, a few hours after Molly McCann and Paddy Pimblett got the party started with a pair of finishes over Luana Carolina and Rodrigo Vargas respectively.
Facing the toughest opponent of his career to date in Alexander Volkov, Aspinall controlled the bout from start to finish before earning a Performance of the Night bonus of his own with a first-round submission of ‘Drago’.
And the 28-year-old admits that he was pretty satisfied with his performance overall.
“Yeah, I think I surprised a few people,” Aspinall exclusively told GiveMeSport.
“I’m not the best boxer in the division, I’m not the best kickboxer in the division, I’m not the best jiu-jitsu guy in the division, but I am the best at mixing it all up. That’s for sure.
“I mix up my striking and takedowns so well, like I say, I might not be the best striker, I might not be the best wrestler, but I can mix them up so well together that they completely freeze in there because they have no idea what I’m going to do.
“Like, obviously, that’s good, that’s good for me. So I’m going to try and keep it that way.”
Following his stunning victory over Volkov, Aspinall took the opportunity to call out Tai Tuivasa.
Tuivasa, 29, has become a huge fan favourite because of his willingness to stand and bang with some of the best opposition out there, something Aspinall admires and respects as a fellow fighter.
“I planned loosely but I didn’t really want to look past Volkov,” he continued.
“I didn’t have any crazy callout plans or anything like that. I’m a big fan of Tai and I know what Tai brings to the table. He brings a lot of fans with him and I love the fans too.
“And I just think how can that fight not be fireworks me and him in the UK? Like that would be absolutely unbelievable so we need to make it happen.
“Basically now the lower the rank the better for me, because I ain’t trying to fight for a title yet, I want two more at least.”