Tom Aspinall adapts ‘honey badger’ nickname, calls fear his ‘super power’ for Sergei Pavlovich

UFC 295 Press Conference
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Tom Aspinall doesn’t mind admitting he’s afraid of Sergei Pavlovich ahead of UFC 295.

In fact, the 30-year-old British heavyweight embraces a healthy amount of fear as he prepares to tackle one of the most ferocious finshers in recent UFC history. After falling to Alistair Overeem in his octagon debut, Pavlovich has rattled off six straight wins — all by knockout — without a single opponent making it past the first round.

Refusing to acknowledge Pavlovich’s danger would be a foolhardy way for Aspinall to approach his first attempt at capturing UFC gold. He prefers to accept the risks he’s taking.

“Pretty scared,” Aspinall said when addressing Pavlovich at the UFC 295 pre-fight press conference. “Scary guy. He’s definitely an intimidating guy, but that being said, I do my best work when I’m scared.

“Fear is something that I have a really good relationship with. It gives me a super power. Generally speaking, the more scared I am, the better I do in the fight.”

Facing his fears may even get him a new nickname that he first heard of in a conversation with UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier.

“DC actually told me today about a honey badger,” Aspinall said. “That’s me. I’m the honey badger moving forward. I’m happy with that, that’s cool.”

To better explain the comparison, UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik detailed why the honey badger is considered such a dangerous predator in the animal kingdom.

“Honey badgers are the league leaders in fear, so they’re pretty dangerous in combat,” Anik said.

Fear aside, Aspinall will face tougher odds going against Pavlovich because he accepted the fight on short notice after an injury scrapped Jon Jones from UFC 295.

Aspinall had a matter of days rather than weeks or months to prepare for Pavlovich. But he accepted the risk knowing the reward that could come as a result. Much like hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said once upon a time — you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.

“I’m still confident either way,” Aspinall said. “Obviously, I said yesterday in a few interviews, I’m not the type of guy who’s going to fly across the world, sign a contract and show up if I don’t think I’m going to win. That’s just not in my nature.

“I would have definitely liked more time to prepare, obviously. But I know one thing. I’m not going to f****** win the fight sat on my couch watching TV, watching it. I’m going to be in there Saturday night. I’m dangerous, and it takes one shot at heavyweight. I’m not going to land that sat in the UK watching on TV. So why not be here having a go?”

Pavlovich appreciated the compliment from Aspinall, but he’s not looking at this fight as an easy night at the office just because his opponent called him scary.

“Thank you very much to Tom for giving me that distinction to be the most dangerous in the division,” Pavlovich said. “But I also think that Tom is a pretty dangerous guy.

“He’s very good at stand up, he’s very good on the ground. We’re not taking him lightly. We’re preparing for 100 percent, and this is going to be a real, full fight.”

Author: Staff

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