Ngannou Coach: Aspinall Has More ‘Upside’ Than Jones
Monday, November 20, 2023 - 01:00
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Ngannou head coach Eric Nicksick believes Tom Aspinall has barely scratched the surface for his potential as a heavyweight fighter.
The UFC heavyweight division is a bit of a mess right now. The former champ Francis Ngannou is gone from the UFC. The current champ Jon Jones is on the sidelines for several months with a torn pectoral. Top contender Stipe Miocic gets first crack at Jones when he returns. That leaves new interim champ Tom Aspinall stuck in a position where he can’t fight the three biggest challenges in his weight class.
That’s a real shame, considering this should be the time where Aspinall gets to shine and prove his own greatness.
In a new episode of Remember The Show with Belal Muhammad, Ngannou’s coach Eric Nicksick heaped praise upon Aspinall for how he won the interim belt at UFC 295.
“I got all the receipts, boys, I’ve been telling everybody for a long time that Tom Aspinall was the guy,” Nicksick declared.
“I think people forgot about him due to that knee injury that he suffered in the London card against Curtis Blaydes,” he continued. “I felt like that was gonna be his coming out party. Unfortunately, it was an injury instead and he was out for a period of time. But, as a coach in the division, at the time having Francis Ngannou, you start to look at the landscape of possible competition as it comes up through the rankings, and I think Tom Aspinall to me was 1A.”
Asked who would be a harder match-up for Ngannou between Jones and Aspinall, Nicksick leaned towards “Bones.”
“I mean, you have to go with the guy who’s considered the G.O.A.T.” Nicksick said. “I would have to say Jon Jones, just because of pedigree, history, the man that Jon Jones is, and the champion that he is. But I think upside? Upside definitely goes to Tom Aspinall. Tom Aspinall reminds me of a Francis Ngannou in a lot of ways, I still think his athleticism is just scratching the surface. I think there’s a lot more that you’re gonna see from Aspinall as far as his growth and maturation goes.”
With Ngannou out of the UFC and preparing for a rematch against Tyson Fury sometime in mid-2024, we probably won’t ever get to see “The Predator” against Jones or Aspinall. But we will get to see if Aspinall develops into a truly special heavyweight champion ... despite all the chaos currently in his division.