Tom Aspinall: Curtis Blaydes rematch at UFC 304 is a ‘lose-lose’ because he’s ‘not that popular’

Tom Aspinall admits he’s risking a whole lot by rematching Curtis Blaydes in the UFC 304 co-main event.

Aspinall (14-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC) will attempt to defend his interim heavyweight title when he runs it back with Blaydes (18-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) on July 27 at Co-op Live in Manchester, England (pay-per-view, ESPN, ESPN+). His dream scenario was a unification bout with Jon Jones, but after acknowledging that’s likely not going to materialize with “Bones” determined to face Stipe Miocic next, he agreed to move on.

The offer that came through was a rematch with Blaydes, who Aspinall suffered his lone UFC loss against when he suffered a knee injury just 15 seconds into their UFC Fight Night 208 headliner in July 2022. Aspinall likes the idea of getting back the result on his record against Blaydes, but outside of that, he said the upside is minimal.

“There’s unfinished business there, evidently,” Aspinall told The Mac Life. “I’ve said this all along. I’ve said this before we last fought, which is over two years ago now: I believe that Curtis is the toughest matchup in the division for me stylistically. This is no disrespect to Curtis – it’s a bit of a lose-lose fight in the fact that he’s not that popular, is what I’m saying. He’s not that popular.

“The guys that you want to fight are the guys who stylistically you match up well with, and they’re really popular. They’re the guys you want to fight, and Curtis is kind of the opposite of that. I’m not saying anything bad about Curtis or anything, but he’s not the most popular guy ever, and he’s really good. I’m looking forward to it, though. None of that really makes a difference to me. I am preparing now 100 percent for Curtis.”

After the interim title contest was booked for UFC 304, Jones chimed in on the “No. 1 contender bout” and said he thinks Blaydes could pull off a legitimate victory this time around.

Aspinall doesn’t begrudge Jones for that assessment, but is not bothered by it, because he’s the one fighting in just over two months time, while Jones remains on the sidelines.

“He might (beat me) – it’s heavyweight MMA at the top level,” Aspinall said. “Someone always might win. And I believe in myself. Yeah, I think I’m good. I think I’m the best in the world. But does that make me invincible? No. Absolutely not. It’s heavyweight MMA. One shot off Curtis and the ref might be waking me up. That’s how it works. This is heavyweight MMA at the peak of the mountain. Of course there’s a chance I can get knocked out. I’m fully aware of that. But I’m putting it all on the line, and quite frankly, (Jones) isn’t.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 304.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie