Tom Aspinall’s injury layoff inspired him to make significant changes in his life, including evaluating whether or not some people around him were contributing to his goal of becoming the UFC’s heavyweight champion.

The 30-year-old was rising rapidly through the UFC’s heavyweight rankings with five-straight finishes in as many bouts for the promotion, but a matchup with Curtis Blaydes last July saw him suffer the first major setback of his career. Aspinall injured his knee just seconds into his fight with the top-ranked Blaydes, and he’ll have been out of action for a full year when he finally returns this July to face Marcin Tybura.

No fighter wants to suffer a serious injury or have a fight end the way his one with Blaydes did, but during a recent BT Sport interview Aspinall discussed how the time off provided a chance for him to streamline his life in order to focus on his fighting career.

“I’ve taken away basically anything – like you said I’ve had a long time to think – anything that doesn’t serve me in becoming the UFC heavyweight champion of the world,” Aspinall said. “Whether that be what food I put in my body, how much sleep I’m having, the people I have around me, the conversations that I have day-to-day, the training sessions that I’m doing. Anything that doesn’t serve me gets dropped…I was doing a lot of things that didn’t correlate with me being the UFC heavyweight champion of the world, and that’s all gone. That’s completely gone. If it’s not helping me, it doesn’t deserve a spot in my life.”

Tom Aspinall Explains Decision To Cut Out Certain People From His Life 

Aspinall’s comments regarding the changes he’s made prompted a follow-up question about if there were any difficulties explaining the situation to people in his life, and the 30-year-old didn’t hesitate with his response.

A knee injury in his last fight with Curtis Blaydes resulted in Aspinall’s first UFC loss. (Per Haljestam/USA TODAY Sports)

“It’s tough. But it they love me and the care about me, they’ll understand. Simple as that. If they literally care about me being a UFC heavyweight champion or getting as far as I can [go], they will understand that I need to do everything that I can to aid that. And if they don’t understand, then they shouldn’t have been around in anyway in my opinion.”

A win over Blaydes could very well have put Aspinall in the discussion for a heavyweight title shot, but even after his injury layoff the Englishman still sits at #5 in the division’s rankings. 

Aspinall’s return matchup with the #10-ranked Tybura provides an opportunity to get back into action without jumping straight into the Top 5, and it will also be his third-straight main event booking in his native England. If Aspinall does get past Tybura, he’ll no doubt be on the short list of contenders vying for a chance to take on heavyweight king Jon Jones.

Read Also: Tom Aspinall: Leon Edwards’ ‘Masterful’ Performance Against Kamaru Usman Is “Underappreciated’ By Casual Fans

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