Chael Sonnen has long been an advocate of Tom Aspinall’s, but he isn’t impressed with the heavyweight contender’s persona.
On a recent episode of his Beyond the Fight podcast, Sonnen criticized Aspinall for not doing a better job of promoting himself in interviews. Aspinall — the No. 7 heavyweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings — has taken a more measured approach to talking himself up as he’s racked up victory after victory, which hasn’t exactly made for the juiciest quotes and headlines.
“He comes out and does an interview — I can’t remember what was said, I was disgusted, I ended up shutting the page — talking about, ‘Who wouldn’t want to see Ngannou box? Ngannou’s just a great boxer,’” Sonnen said. “He went on from there, put some other people over. He’s a legitimate fan. I do understand that in all fairness and he does come off as a very sweet guy, that is true. Tom actually is coming off like a really nice guy, I must tell the other side of the coin.
“I can’t put him back in a main event. I can’t put him in a title shot. I can’t put him in anything that he says he doesn’t belong in. Nobody can.”
Sonnen suggested that Aspinall be pulled aside and coached by his team to improve his interviews, going as far as to say that he could even have a manager speak for him.
Aspinall responded to Sonnen’s comments via an Instagram story and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be changing his approach anytime soon.
“I’m more than happy being myself thanks and not selling myself out and acting like a [clown] for views and money,” Aspinall wrote. “I am not a WWE entertainer I’m one of the greatest heavyweights to walk on this [Earth] 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 s***. Happy to be myself.”
So far, Aspinall’s work in the cage has spoken volumes about his star potential. The 29-year-old Englishman had a breakthrough performance this past March at UFC London in what was his first headlining opportunity. Aspinall defeated Alexander Volkov by first-round submission to electrify a sold-out crowd at The O2 and score his fifth UFC win in as many appearances for the promotion.
Up next for Aspinall, he fights Curtis Blaydes in the main event of the UFC’s return to London on July 23.
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