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Tom Aspinall responds to Chael Sonnen’s promo criticism: ‘I’m more than happy being myself’

The UFC heavyweight contender is uninterested in changing his approach to getting fights. 

Chael Sonnen is a fan of Tom Aspinall but wants the No. 6 ranked UFC heavyweight contender to stop underselling and start promoting himself.

Sonnen spoke about Aspinall on his Beyond the Fight podcast, saying he considers the 29-year-old to be a ‘special talent’ and the future of the heavyweight division. However, the analyst took issue with his approach to getting fights because it lacks the element of self-promotion. Given his own experience with self-promotion throughout his professional career, Sonnen explained why it is detrimental for Aspinall to remain measured in his pursuit of a potential championship opportunity.

“He comes out and does an interview — I can’t remember what was said, I was disgusted, I ended up shutting the page — talking about, ‘Who wouldn’t want to see Francis Ngannou box? Ngannou’s just a great boxer,” said Sonnen. “It went on from there, put some other people over. He’s a legitimate fan. I do understand that in all fairness and he does come off as a very sweet guy. That is true. Tom actually is coming off like a really nice guy, I must tell the other side of the coin.

“I can’t put him back in a main event,” continued Sonnen. “I can’t put him in a title shot. I can’t put him in anything that he says he doesn’t belong in. Nobody can.”

Aspinall has addressed his approach before, telling Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that he prefers to fight — not talk — his way into contention.

“I never thought that I was going to be talking about a title after five UFC fights, six UFC fights,” said Aspinall. “I feel like I’ve got more work to do. I’ve got a lot more work to do, more proving. I don’t want to be one of these people who gets here by talking. That is not me.”

Judging by his response to Sonnen, it appears as though he is not changing that.

“I’m more than happy being myself thanks and not selling myself out and acting like a [clown] for views and money,” wrote Aspinall on Instagram Stories. “I am not a WWE entertainer I’m one of the greatest heavyweights to walk on this [Earth] and it will be shown in my body of work from my UFC debut until I retire in 10 years. I don’t need to talk s—t. Happy to be myself.”

Aspinall emerged as a contender after five consecutive wins in the UFC. He recently submitted Alexander Volkov via first-round armbar at UFC London this past March.

The Englishman returns to London for his second headliner this year. Aspinall shares the Octagon with Curtis Blaydes in his next appearance.