Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall shared just 15 seconds in the cage on Saturday night but an excellent bit longer later that night.
Pictures emerged on Sunday of both top-ranked heavyweights sharing a beer together in the fighter hotel, just hours after Aspinall suffered a potentially serious knee injury which brought a premature conclusion to the largest fight of his life up to now. Even though big fights will await him down the road, it’ll be the final time we Aspinall in the cage for a protracted spell but he certainly didnt appear to be letting the circumstances get him down, at the very least by the pictorial evidence you can view above (via Aspinalls IG, btw).
But how did this happen? Blaydes detailed the circumstances to Ariel Helwani on Mondays MMA Hour, via MMA Fighting.
Random, Blaydes explained. I was in my own room, obviously were in exactly the same hotel. My father, I assume he was in the lobby downstairs at among the bars in the lobby area. He was down there, and he bumped into Aspinalls dad, and my father is really a talker. Hell socialize with anybody. Hell be your very best friend in the event that you guys have a glass or two.
THEREFORE I guess he surely got to talking, and my father walked into my room and was like, Hey, lets rise to Aspinalls room. He really wants to have a glass or two with you. THEREFORE I was like, OK, Im down. So then we rise there, and theyre really nice. The complete Aspinall [crew], his whole squad, his dad, his uncle, everyone, even the ladies. Individuals were super nice, super cool.
We were up there for as an hour. An excellent, solid hour. These were nice guys, and the atmosphere was very friendly, very inviting.
Some fighters would battle to handle what looks to be always a serious injury. Not Aspinall, Blaydes said.
He handled it perfectly. He was upbeat, he said. He was fine. He knows hell be back. He knows hes young. Hes already much better than Derrick Lewis, I believe hes much better than Tuivasa; I believe hes much better than Gane. I believe hes more well-rounded. He obviously gets the wrestling, he’s got jiu-jitsu, hes very athletic on your toes. I believe he believes hes likely to bounce back, and I really believe in addition, it. I dont think this is actually the end of Aspinall.
But Blaydes added that his stop by at Aspinalls accommodation may have had one unexpected consequence: he likes him.
I wish I hadnt risen there, because now I love him! Blaydes said. I love the guy. You dont desire to fight someone you prefer, and I understand were likely to scrap again. I understand, because hes only 29, hell be back. I understand hes likely to be out for eight, nine months, a good year, but hell be here, therefore i know were likely to scrap again, and its own hard to scrap a man you prefer.