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UFC London 2022 LIVE: Paddy The Baddy, Tom Aspinall and Curtis Blaydes speak at media day ahead of fight card

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Three days before they step into the Octagon at the O2 Arena, UFC London’s protagonists will face questions from the media in the English capital.

Mixed martial arts’ flagship promotion returns to London just four months after its last visit, which made for a mesmering and historic night of action at the O2. Tom Aspinall emerged victorious from the main event that evening, submitting Alexander Volkov in the first round, and the Wigan heavyweight will headline again this Saturday as he takes on Curtis Blaydes. Meanwhile, Paddy Pimblett achieved a first-round submission victory over Rodrigo Vargas at the March edition of UFC London, captivating the crowd and crowning himself as the star of the show. The loudmouth Liverpudlian will feature at the O2 Arena again this weekend, facing Jordan Leavitt on the main card.

Molly McCann and Paul Craig are among the other British, fan favourite fighters to have fought in March, and both are due to step in the ring on Saturday. Former light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson adds some extra prestige to proceedings, meanwhile, and all of the above combatants will speak at today’s media day. Follow live updates from the UFC London media day, below.

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UFC London media day

Now we have former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson.

He’s returning to light heavyweight after fighting at heavyweight last time out, when he was submitted by former champion Fabricio Werdum in July 2020.

In fact, that fight took place almost exactly two years to the day before the Swede faces Nikita Krylov this Saturday.

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UFC London media day

Aspinall: “We need that stadium [show], don’t we?

“I would love the Manchester Arena, though. But the O2’s amazing as well, so I ain’t complaining.”

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UFC London media day

Aspinall is 12-2 as a professional mixed martial artist, and all of his wins have come via finish – all in Round 1 or 2.

Of his two losses, one was a submission and one was a DQ for an illegal elbow. Both of those results came in the second round.

So, Aspinall has never reached the third round. He is scheduled for five rounds against Blaydes, as he was against Alexander Volkov in March.

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UFC London media day

Aspinall on what sets him apart from other heavyweights: “The obvious thing to say is that my speed sets me apart, [but] I think the biggest thing is my decision-making.

“I make decisions super quick. To the untrained eye – even to the trained eye – that may not be that easy to see.”

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UFC London media day

Tom Aspinall faces the media ahead of UFC London

(The Independent)

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UFC London media day

Aspinall on the UFC’s rapid return to London: “It’s a special place to fight, and there are special fighters on the card – it can’t not be another amazing night.

“It can’t possibly be boring, it’s gonna be absolutely wild.

“Not wanting to sound egotistical, but I’m a big part of why [the UFC has come back to London so quickly]. I took [UFC president] Dana White aside and had a chat with him.

“I wasn’t asking questions like: ‘Oh, Dana, can we please come back?’ No, it was: ‘We are coming back this year.’”

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UFC London media day

Aspinall: “I’ve just got so much that I’ve not shown. Curtis doesn’t know, no one in the UFC knows; no one’s really seen what I can do. That’s a massive advantage for me.”

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UFC London media day

Aspinall: “I don’t talk about this stuff too much, but I’m a winner. That’s all I care about: I want to win.

“I don’t care how I win, but I’m a fierce, fierce competitor.”

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UFC London media day

Aspinall says he didn’t know that he’s the betting favourite against Blaydes, but he seems surprised.

“This is heavyweight MMA – massive guys, tiny gloves, anything can happen.”

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UFC London media day

Aspinall on not looking past Blaydes: “I’d appreciate it if no one else asked me about other fights, because I don’t give a s***.”

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