Tom Aspinall (12-1, 12 finishes) headlines a UFC London event for the second time, just four months after earning a first-round submission victory against Alexander Volkov in the main event. Ahead of his top-billed clash Saturday with fellow highly-ranked heavyweight Curtis Blaydes (16-3, 11 finishes), the Englishman chatted with Scott Fontana for this week’s Post Fight Interview.

Q: You added a back tattoo since your March victory over Volkov, who already had a similar tattoo. Was that in the plans for a while? The social media joke is you stole his tattoo with you after the win.
A: Maybe I did; maybe I didn’t. No. The plan is to get the full torso done. But the back’s just next on the agenda. I’ve got the chest done. The arms are done. I didn’t want to get the stomach done just yet. I wanted to get the back done first, because it’s the biggest part, and then finish on the stomach and the ribs and stuff. So, it just worked out that way, I guess (laughs). And it’s a kind of similar tattoo style as well. So yeah, I didn’t steal it. Or maybe I did. I don’t know.

Tom Aspinall celebrates his victory over Alexander Volkov on March 19, 2022.

Q: You had called out Tai Tuivasa, but he didn’t sound interested, referring to the idea of moving “forward not backward” in the rankings. What was your reaction?A: I understand. I also understand that I’m a very tough fight for him stylistically. The other reason I really wanted to fight Tai was because he just had a big win, and he was fresh in my mind. When I fought Volkov, [Tuivasa’s] win was a [month] earlier, so it was really fresh that he just beat Derrick Lewis. I just thought it made sense, so I’ve got nothing against Tai. I’m sure we’re gonna meet one day, So, yeah, whatever. Tai’s doing his thing. He’s got a big fight ahead as well [against former interim champion Ciryl Gane in September], so all the best for him. Good luck.

Q: You’ve got another tough test in Blaydes, arguably the best wrestler at heavyweight. This is a different challenge for you. How did you prepare for it?
A: Yeah, it really is. It’s been the most uncomfortable training camp I’ve ever done, We’ve had to start with me in so many bad positions, near enough for every session, with fresh guys on top of me all the time. I’m just preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, same as I do in every fight. I’ll be prepared to get up 50 times if I need to. Hopefully, I won’t have to get up anytime. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use my style and use what I need to use to keep him at bay, but I’m definitely prepared for the worst. It’s definitely the most prepared that I’ve ever been for a fight before.

Q: Blaydes is showing a lot of improvements as a striker, too. How do you assess his game right now?
A: I think this is heavyweight MMA, and I think if anybody hits you with them incredibly small gloves on and they’re an incredibly big guy, doesn’t matter how good your bloody striking is, what accolades you’ve got, what technique you’ve got or not got, you’re going over. Simple as that. It’s just as dangerous as anybody else. And like you say, his technique’s improving as well, so he’s a threat there.

Q: You’re focused on Blaydes, but you’d mentioned recently you believe you’ll be the UFC champion in the next 10 years. You’re probably only a win or two away from a title shot right now on merit, so what about in the next two or three years?
A: I think people understand me wrong when I say it like that. I think I’ve got 10 years left in this sport. I’m 29; I’ve just turned 29. I want to be done by the time I’m, like, 40 years old. I don’t want to be one of them guys fighting into their 40s. I just mean, yeah, at some point in the next 10 years, I will have the belt around my waist. And that’s it. Doesn’t matter how it happens, who beats who, who loses to who, who beats this guy, who’s holding up the division, all that crap. I’m not interested. What I’m interested in is, one day, I’m going to be the UFC champion. And that’s it.

Q: Do you recall your first experience watching MMA?
A: I was a young child. My dad just showed me some VHS videos of Royce Gracie.

Q: Favorite meal after weigh-ins?A: Usually, I like to eat Italian the night before. Plenty [of] carbs. Stock up on the carbs the night before. Eat as many carbs as possible.

Q: Favorite fight of yours from your regional days?A: I got an amateur fight where my opponent walks across the cage and he leg kicks me, and I catch his leg with one hand and throw the straight right with the other hand and knock him straight out in like five seconds. That’s probably my favorite one. That’s probably my favorite fight ever. I like that one.

Q: What’s the coolest technique in combat sports?
A: I like defensive techniques. It’s a bit of an unpopular opinion, but I personally like a granby roll. When someone’s trying to take you down, you’re almost getting taken down, and then you roll, reverse and end up on top. I really like that. That’s really cool.

Tom Aspinall (left) punches Andrei Arlovski on Feb. 20, 2021.
Zuffa LLC

Q: Favorite movie?A: “Rocky 4.”

Q: Favorite outdoor activity?A: Love a bit of hiking.

Q: Favorite video game?A: I’ve never really been into it. I used to play a lot of “FIFA” when I was younger. … I am going to invest in the next Xbox because I’m on the game now. I’m on the “EA Sports [UFC]” game, so I want to play.

Q: How well do you think they made you in the game? A: I’ve not played it, but the graphics are amazing. It looks so much like [me]. Like, I thought it was me.