Before he was a UFC heavyweight champion, Tom Aspinall was a pro boxer who KO-ed opponent during debut

Tom Aspinall became the third ever British UFC champion. Aspinall became the interim champat UFC 295 against Sergei Pavlovich. However, Aspinall’s journey to the pinnacle of the sport is more than just about entering the octagon; it’s a narrative of sacrifice, determination, and familial support that began in a backyard Brazilian jiu-jitsu school.

Eighteen years ago, Andy Aspinall, Tom’s father, made a bold decision. Leaving behind a lucrative 25-year career in IT, he chose to nurture Tom’s athletic potential and establish a Brazilian jiu-jitsu school. With a redundancy payment in hand, Andy aimed to create a career path for his sons, Tom and Joe, in the world of martial arts.

The transition wasn’t just about pursuing martial arts glory; it was a departure from an environment Andy found unfavorable. The move allowed him to embrace a quieter life, away from the politics of the corporate world. Little did he know that this decision would set the stage for Tom’s remarkable journey to becoming one of the UFC’s brightest stars.

Tom’s path to UFC 295 wasn’t without its challenges. From training in the family’s backyard to navigating changes in sports and overcoming injuries, Tom faced obstacles that could have derailed his career. Throughout the ups and downs, Andy played a crucial role, providing unwavering support when Tom considered giving up.

Aspinall might be considered a grappler now, but he’s trained in boxing under Peter Fury. He had a professional boxing debut in 2017 -against Tamas Bajzath and he was victiorious.

Aspinall praised the coach for making him view fighting as a sport, telling Mirror: “Peter Fury is a massively underrated person in boxing and combat sports.”

“He’s amazing. He changed the way I think about fighting completely. Him, Hughie, Tyson, and John Fury made me start thinking of it as a sport rather than life or death. That’s what it used to be for me, I used to take it so seriously.”

Peter is the uncle of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and is one of the most well-respected coaches in boxing. He led Tyson to win the unified titles against Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 when his father John was spending time in prison.

“Peter taught me not to force everything,” Aspinall continued.

“I used to want it too much and try too hard. He used to say ‘it’s just a sport stop trying so hard, just enjoy yourself’ and since I’ve been doing that I’ve not put a foot wrong in my MMA career. So I massively appreciate what he’s done for me.”