Tom Aspinall on why Wigan camp will give him the edge for UFC shot
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The 30-year-old from Atherton will take on Sergei Pavlovich at New York City's Madison Square Garden on Saturday night for the interim heavyweight title.
He stepped in at just over two weeks' notice after reigning champion Jon Jones pulled out of his defence against Stipe Miocic with a ruptured pectoral muscle.
In there is an MMA cage used by the rugby players to aid their tackling technique, and Aspinall says his preparation has been top class.
Speaking exclusively to Wigan Today, he said: "We've been coming to Wigan for a while to be honest.
"The facilities here, the gym, there's even a cage, it's amazing.
"And I've no idea why they've got it!
"I asked Shaun Wane, the England coach, who used to be the Warriors coach, why there is a really good cage here, and he said: 'I don't know'!
"But it's great for us, a nice big cage, very springy, everything's good about it, so that's why we love it here."
Aspinall will be flying the flag for the borough and the north west on the sport's biggest stage.
Despite being within touching distance of stardom, he remains as grounded as ever.
"I've had loads of messages from local people, and that's always nice, I really appreciate it," he said.
"Whether it's famous people, sports people I've trained with, or just someone on the street, it doesn't really matter.
"Support is support and I'm very thankful for every bit of it.
"I also think this is a very individual sport, and you need to do what you need to do to win.
"I think you have to be quite selfish in that, so I don't really think about anybody else to be honest.
"I just think about myself, and what I need to do to win."
Not only is this Aspinall's first fight at Madison Square Garden, it's also his maiden trip to one of the biggest fight cities on the planet.
"It's the most prestigious place for combat sports,.and not just combat sports, any sports," he said.
"For any sportsman, or indeed any performer, to be able to do so at Madison Square Garden is massive.
"So I'm looking forward to that massively but, more than that, I'm looking forward to a massive fight against a massive opponent.
"And I have thought about bringing home the belt, definitely.
"I have thought about coming back to the airport, and people being here waiting for me.
"I'm returning with the belt, and I think that is absolutely going to happen.
"Ideally I would have liked eight or 10 weeks, rather than two and a half.
"But I'm always in training, and what can you do?
"When opportunity knocks, you've got top answer it, and I'm really happy either way about what's ahead."