UFC icon Chael Sonnen criticized Tom Aspinall for his modest demeanor while discussing the UFC heavyweight division.
After only five bouts, Aspinall has risen to No. 6 in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings. However, he says he isn’t ready to compete for an interim championship ahead of his octagon comeback.
Sonnen was known for his outspokenness throughout his legendary career in the sport. He believes Aspinall approaches the media like a “13-year-old fan” who has no idea how to rise to the top of the promotion ladder.
Sonnen feels that in order to advance, Aspinall has to either recruit someone else to advocate for him or start talking himself up more aggressively.
“You’re putting me in a tough place, Tom Aspinall,” Sonnen said in a YouTube video.
Sonnen said Aspinall may be the future of the UFC’s heavyweight division.
“Aspinall has felt the pressures of booking five-round contests, stepped out at the end of the night in the main event and not only won but finished opponents.”
“Aspinall does interviews like a 13-year-old fan. I’ve been telling people for a long time that this is the guy.”
“I have firmly contended that the future of the heavyweight division is not stumbling around the streets somewhere, they’re already signed to the organization.”
“They just haven’t got their push and I specifically brought you the name Tom Aspinall, I’ve got a mole inside his camp and I’m talking about how much I love his boxing but every time he’s in the cage he goes for the takedown.”
“He’s a legitimate fan which I understand and he does come across as a very sweet guy. But [if I’m the promoter] I can’t put him back in a main event or a title fight or anything that he says he doesn’t belong in, nobody can!”
Aspinall is friends with Tyson Fury’s family, including his boisterous father John. However, Aspinall has chosen not to embrace their famed trash talk.
Instead he has said on many occasions that his main concentration is on his next opponent, Curtis Blaydes, who is rated No. 4 in the world. In July, he and Blaydes will headline The O2 in London.
Aspinall recently responded to Sonnen’s criticism on his Instagram story.
“I’m more than happy being myself thanks and not selling myself out and acting like a clown for views and money.”
“I am one of the greatest heavyweights to walk on this world 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 shit. Happy to be myself.”