Tom Aspinall has revealed how a freak back injury almost ended his hopes of becoming UFC interim heavyweight champion.
The British star pulled off a stunning victory over Russian Sergei Pavlovich in the co-main event of UFC 295 in New York on Saturday.
However, in the lead up to the clash, Aspinall suffered a back injury leaving him unable to train and considering pulling out of the fight.
“I just wanted to get one good spar under my belt before we basically leave and travel to the US,” he told The MMA Hour.
“This was in the fourth round of sparring. Never experienced anything like it before.
“I just had a crazy back spasm, and my back just seized up. Nothing really even happened, and my back just stiffened up really badly.
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“I was basically unable to work out from that point onward. ‘It did get a little better, and luckily, my team was amazing and just shifted everything around so I could get some really good treatment. For a couple of days there, I just like, ‘s***, what am I going to do?’
“I’ve accepted the fight, the world knows about the fight now, and I can’t move,” he added.
“We got stuff working, but seriously, nearly the worst-case scenario out there. No training camp, and then the small training camp that we did within the two weeks, I couldn’t really participate in most of the stuff I was doing, anyway.
“So yeah, it was wild. It was absolutely crazy. I didn’t have a visa. I had to do a million phones with the visa thing, the travel, and go to London a couple of times, which is the opposite side of the country from where I live. So it was absolutely crazy.
“It was just some freak thing that went on for a week,” he explained. “It was really, really weird. It’s not like an ongoing injury. Everything’s fine. But it was just like my back seized up. A lot of anxiety over the last couple of weeks, to be honest.
“But I’ve been doing a lot of, I don’t want to say soul-searching, I’ve been doing a lot of knowing where I’m at, and finding what I’m like as a person.
“Ultimately, this is what draws me to this sport is, I want to find out what I’m like as a person. What is Tom like when s*** goes south?
“And a lot of stuff has been going south for me in this build up, a lot of obstacles are coming my way. But as I kept saying in the pre-fight interviews, I know one thing for sure, I’m definitely not going to win the fight by watching it on TV.”
For now, Aspinall is enjoying the aftermath of victory with no immediate plans to return to action with Jon Jones out with a long-term injury.
Next up for the Brit could be UFC 300 next spring in what is likely to be a huge card for the milestone event.
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