I didn’t really train at all – New champ Tom Aspinall reveals injury before big win at UFC 295 

The newly crowned UFC interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall was dealing with a major ailment heading into his fight with Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295 this Saturday.

By: Kristen King | 3 weeks ago
I didn’t really train at all – New champ Tom Aspinall reveals injury before big win at UFC 295 
Tom Aspinall celebrates his win in the UFC Heavyweight Interim Title bout during the UFC 295 event at Madison Square Garden on November 11, 2023 in New York City. | Justin Renfroe / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

Tom Aspinall reveals injury ahead of title win at UFC 295

Tom Aspinall won the UFC interim heavyweight championship under ‘the worst circumstances’ at UFC 295 this past Saturday. Ahead of his short-notice fight against Sergei Pavlovich, Aspinall said he was sharing the Octagon with the ‘scariest’ fighter in the division without a training camp. Most assumed that was due to its short-notice nature, but there was something else that had Aspinall come in with little to no training.  

Immediately after his first-round finish of Pavlovich, the Englishman shared with UFC color commentator Laura Sanko that he cut his training camp short after suffering a back injury days removed from accepting the fight. 

“I actually pulled my back and didn’t really train at all,” said Aspinall during an interview with Sanko. “So I injured it on the first week after I found out about the fight. I’ve not been able to train for, like, the last week and a half. I didn’t have any training camp. I had about, like, five days of training camp. I didn’t have a visa. I was unsure if I could get here. It was just the wildest two weeks ever. Everything was just going wrong.”

Aspinall shook off pre-fight doubts at UFC 295

During his post-fight press conference, Tom Aspinall gave some insight on dealing with a back injury ahead of one of the most important fights of his UFC career.

“[This is dumb]. That was my exact thoughts when I was sat in the locker room tonight,” said Aspinall when asked about pre-fight doubts. “I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ But, to be honest, I get this a lot. Too many people in this game and in life in general — I’m not trying to be a philosopher — but they hide away from fear. They try to be like, ‘I’m not scared’ and whatever.

“I openly admit that I’m scared, but I’m going to do it anyway,” continued Aspinall. “That’s where I do my best. Look when Sergei whacked me with the overhand right. My mouthpiece started to come out. That’s when I do my best work. When a big, scary guy is coming at me like that. That’s when I’m at my absolute best. I embrace fear with open arms. I’m happy to be scared and perform like that.”

Tom Aspinall shuts down Ciryl Gane for next fight

After he recovers from his back injury, Tom Aspinall has a few options to consider for his next fight. Of course, there is the unification against Jon Jones, but UFC CEO Dana White has already confirmed that ‘Bones’ vs. Stipe Miocic is getting rescheduled.

Other options include contenders such as Ciryl Gane and Jailton Almeida, but the newly crowned UFC interim heavyweight champion has already shut down one of them. When Gane defeated Serghei Spivak at UFC Paris this past September, Aspinall called him out. ‘Bon Gamin’ shut him down, but reversed course recently. 

“Congratulations, Tom. You are now the champion and become the one being pursued, and I am the hunter. See you soon,” posted Gane on X (formerly Twitter) after UFC 295 this past Saturday.

When Aspinall heard that callout, he returned the favor to Gane.

“Oh, that’s interesting,” said Aspinall. “After I just called him out, went to France and he turned the fight down. I think he should fight Almeda. I think them guys should fight each other first and see what happens there.”

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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