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‘Highly unlikely but not a complete no’ - Tom Aspinall weighing London return at UFC 286

Is Aspinall going to be ready for UFC 286? Maybe. 

Tom Aspinall at UFC London in July 2022.
Tom Aspinall at UFC London in July 2022.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Tom Aspinall says he could return to the Octagon at UFC 286, but should he?

The UFC heavyweight has not fought since suffering a first-round TKO loss to Curtis Blaydes at UFC London this past July. In that fight, Aspinall tore his MCL and meniscus, and damaged his ACL, which required surgery.

In his time away, the UFC has announced that it is returning to the United Kingdom with its ‘biggest and baddest card’ at the O2 in London: UFC 286. Having headlined the last two cards, Aspinall would love to return, but he is is still weighing whether doing so at this one is a good idea.

My ego wants to go ‘stick me on the card I’m good to go’ but I need to think long term which I’ve not been doing and need to get everything right,” said Aspinall in an interview with OLBG.

“I’m not ruling it out [fighting at UFC 286],” continued Aspinall. “At the minute it’s still like 14-15 weeks away. And at this point I’ve not done much heavy training. It’s just been rehab really. But can I get ready in 14 weeks? The answer is yes. Will I be ready to start a title run in 14 weeks, I don’t know. And if I don’t know — that’s not the answer I’m looking for. It’s highly unlikely but not a complete no at this point.”

For now, Aspinall continues to recover from surgery. The Team Kaobon product is training again, though not at full capacity.

“I’m not kicking just yet, but I’ve been doing a bit of sparring and stuff,” said Aspinall. “I can full-on wrestle now which is great. I literally started that this week. I’m looking to get signed off by the physio in 8-12 weeks, he reckons, completely signed off and back to full on training, I’m really happy with it all.”

Prior to his loss, Aspinall was on an eight-fight win streak that included ‘Performance of the Night’ finishes of Andre Arlovski, Sergey Spivak and Alexander Volkov.