Tom Aspinall knows he’s in for a tough fight when he takes on Sergei Pavlovich for the interim heavyweight title in a short-notice bout at UFC 295 on Nov. 11.
“I think that Pavlovich is the most dangerous, to be honest,” Aspinall told The Mac Life’s Oscar Willis on Wednesday when asked about facing Pavlovich and not Jon Jones or Stipe Miocic. “I think he’s the most dangerous guy in the UFC.”
Pavlovich and Aspinall agreed to battle for interim gold after Jones, the UFC heavyweight champion, suffered a torn pectoral muscle that forced him out of his highly anticipated fight against former two-time champ Miocic at Madison Square Garden. Pavlovich and Aspinall are ranked No. 2 and No. 4 in the division, respectively.
“To be honest, it’s the most dangerous situation you could have: fighting the most dangerous guy in the UFC on two weeks’ notice,” Aspinall said. “But I’m willing to put it all on the line. This is my absolute dream.
“I’m doing a (Michael) Bisping, aren’t I? Bisping took it on two weeks’ notice … and won against (Luke) Rockhold. So why can’t I do it?”
Aspinall has been nearly perfect since his UFC debut in 2020. He holds a 6-1 record in the promotion, with his only loss being a 15-second injury TKO against Curtis Blaydes in July 2022. He tore his MCL and meniscus and also suffered ACL damage in the fight, after which he underwent surgery. The Brit bounced back this past July with a 73-second knockout win over Marcin Tybura.
Short-notice opportunities have been at the forefront of the MMA news cycle in recent weeks, as Alexander Volkanovski and Kamaru Usman both fell short at UFC 294 last weekend after agreeing to step in on less than two weeks’ notice. Ideally, Aspinall would have more than 17 days to get ready for Pavlovich, but the 30-year-old isn’t too worried about the limited time to prepare.
“I’m a dedicated guy. I’m in the gym anyway,” Aspinall said. “I would’ve liked longer than two weeks, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I’ll be ready. No excuses there, mate. I’ll be ready to go, and I’m coming to win.”