Tom Aspinall admits he had a ‘few dark days’ in his recovery from serious knee injury and considered ending MMA career


It took Tom Aspinall 73 seconds to dispatch Marcin Tybura on Saturday evening, but he spent a year building up to it after tearing ligaments in his knee last summer; in an interview with Sky Sports in May, the 30-year-old admitted he had “dark days” and even considered ending his career

Tom Aspinall admits he had a 'few dark days' in his recovery from serious knee injury and considered ending MMA career

Tom Aspinall is only just returning to the world of MMA after spending 12 months recovering from a serious knee injury.

The British heavyweight contender tore his medial collateral ligament 15 seconds into a bout with Curtis Blaydes last summer and had to forfeit the fight on medical terms.

A year later and it took him just 73 seconds to dispatch Marcin Tybura on Saturday evening with a flurry of punches to headline the UFC London card.

While the 30-year-old swelled at how well he carried out a scrupulous rehabilitation programme, he also admitted that his time away considerably impacted his mental health.

“To say that it didn’t affect me would be a bit of an understatement. I definitely had a few dark days,” Aspinall told Sky Sports’ Maryam Clark in May.

“When I couldn’t walk, that was really tough for me because I’m an active person anyway. I don’t like to sit down too much.

“I had a few days when I had to think about whether I wanted to do the sport or not anymore because it is a dangerous sport.”

Tom Aspinall admits he had a 'few dark days' in his recovery from serious knee injury and considered ending MMA career

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“But I came to the conclusion that I really do want to do it; I’ve spent my whole life trying to get to this point.

“I’m working for what I’ve got right now, and I’ve sacrificed so much for it. And if I want to do it, I want to do it properly. I don’t want to half-a*** it anymore.

“I want to go all in, and I’m really, really motivated to not be that guy who falls over after 15 seconds with a bad knee.

“I’m the future UFC heavyweight champion, and nothing is going to stop me right now.”

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It seemed as if Aspinall was on a speedy trajectory to success before his injury setback.

The Mancunian was sixth in the heavyweight rankings after winning the first five fights of his UFC career. A win over Blaydes would’ve undoubtedly led to securing a place among the title contenders.

So, with momentum halted, the question was whether he could rediscover his winning touch – and he has answered emphatically, with a specialised diet regime fuelling his triumphant comeback.

“When I had surgery, my physio and my surgeon explained to me how important diet is and looking after my body” Aspinall said.

“They just explained that what you put in your body is how well it’s going to recover, and you need to look after it. And I took the whole process really seriously.

“And it’s just gone from there, really. I didn’t let myself become a fat slob during my recovery. I was looking after my body, probably better than when I’m in training camp.

“I watched everything that I ate. Everything I put in my body is accounted for. So, I think I’m in pretty good shape right now. And I’m happy with it”.


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