Tom Aspinall has entered UFC 295 on less than three weeks’ notice with determination and confidence. Set to face formidable opponent Sergei Pavlovich, who he deems as “the scariest guy in MMA.” Aspinall is undeterred by the short notice or the tough competition. Necessity called him into the ring when UFC decided to set up an interim title fight with Pavlovich in light of Jon Jones’ injury that resulted in a cancellation of the originally scheduled UFC 295 main event featuring Jones versus Stipe Miocic. Originally, Pavlovich was set to be the backup fighter for this event.
While Aspinall is candid about the challenges he’s facing, he remains resolute. He concedes that “two weeks” isn’t really adequate to prepare for a fight. He’s also aware that he is facing Pavlovich under the worst possible conditions, without a proper training camp. Yet, many sportsbooks still pegged the Brit as the slight favorite at publication time due to his unwavering confidence in his winning abilities despite the odds stacked against him.
Aspinall insists, “I’m fighting the scariest guy in MMA in my opinion, in the worst circumstance possible. But, I truly, truly believe that I’m going to win on Saturday night. I’m an absolute winner, and I’m going to find a way to win regardless of the circumstances.” Making his claim hard to dismiss, Aspinall has delivered victories in all six of his UFC bouts so far, suffering only one loss due to a freak knee injury in a match with Curtis Blaydes in 2022. On the other hand, Pavlovich holds an impressive record of six first-round knockout wins in a row after his single professional defeat in his UFC debut match against Alistair Overeem in 2018.
Looking forward, there are many UFC fans and analysts who believe that Aspinall and Pavlovich, two emerging prospects, are the rightful contenders for the UFC heavyweight title. They argue that Jones should vacate the title due to his injury. Yet, UFC CEO Dana White has emphasized that the interim champion must wait until the winner is decided in Jones’ title defense against Miocic once Jones recovers. Still, Aspinall seems unperturbed by the idea of an interim title and keeps his eyes on a potential future matchup against Jones. He states, “I’m fine with the interim. Jones is obviously one of the best to ever do it. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and hopefully, we’ll get to share the cage one day.”