Stunning return victory for Wigan's own UFC heavyweight hero

Tom Aspinall set his sights on UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones after returning to the octagon in stunning fashion on Saturday night.
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The 30-year-old - who hails from Atherton, and has coached Jiu Jitsu at Elite Fitness Factory in Wigan, the gym owned by his Team Kaobon mate Mike Grundy - dazzled on his UFC return with a stunning first round TKO victory over Marcin Tybura at London’s O2 Arena.

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It was almost a year to the day that Aspinall had torn his ACL at the very same venue against Curtis Blaydes, prompting a long road to recovery.

Tom Aspinall made a triumphant return to the octagon in London at the weekendTom Aspinall made a triumphant return to the octagon in London at the weekend
Tom Aspinall made a triumphant return to the octagon in London at the weekend
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But no dust needed shaking off, nor was Aspinall remotely cautious in his approach, taking little over a minute to see off his Polish opponent.

And during his post-fight interview, Aspinall wasted no time in calling out Jones.

"That seemed like an easy fight, but Marcin is a really good guy and has won seven of his last eight," he said.

"That guy is my friend and big respect for everything," he said.

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"I'm going to go to Paris (in September), and sit front row for Ciryl Gane against Sergei Spivac

"I'm going to beat the winner, and then I'm going to beat Jon Jones."

Jones immediately took to social media to reply: "Sounds good LOL."

When shown the comment, Aspinall was delighted.

"Jon Jones knows I exist, that's a win in itself!" he smiled. "I'm buzzing with that.

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"I've been saying this all week, what I want to do is obviously win my fights going forward but I also want to motivate Jon Jones to stick around and fight me.

"That is my absolute dream mate, the thought of that!

"I think I match up well against him. It's a dream fight of mine.

"I'm young, fresh, big, fast, strong. I can do everything well and I'm heavy, which is unlike a lot of his opponents who he's fought in the past.

"I just think I bring something different to him, I think he knows that as well and he should know that moving forward."

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Striking from the buzzer on Saturday night, it was very quickly evident the contest wasn’t likely to last long.

Aspinall had initially buzzed his opponent in the opening seconds before flooring him with a quick left, right exchange.

He proceeded to rain down several punches with his right hand and that was that with the referee calling an end to the proceedings.

“I’m not going to say I’m back,” he told UFC legend Michael Bisping and the crowd after his win.

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“I’m different now, I’m just different to what I was last year."

Aspinall’s win won the approval of fellow Wiganer Muhammad Mokaev, who wasn’t fighting on the card.

"So happy for Tom Aspinall,” he tweeted. “This man deserves everything what comes his way.”

It had been a mixed night for the Brits on the card prior to Aspinall’s victory with five wins and five losses, which included a shock defeat for Liverpool’s Molly McCann via submission against Julia Stoliarenko.

But Aspinall didn’t let the crowd down, other than to make his long awaited return short and sweet.

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