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UFC Interim Heavyweight Champ Tom Aspinall Reveals Origin of Potential Nickname



While Tom Aspinall isn’t keen on having a nickname, one possibility is starting to grow on him.

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Aspinall became the interim heavyweight champ with a first-round knockout win in a short-notice clash against Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295 in November 2023. Aspinall embraced the nickname “Honey Badger” proposed by Daniel Cormier ahead of the bout, though it wasn’t made official at the time.

Aspinall recently explained how that nickname came to be. When Aspinall told Cormier and Jon Anik at the fighter-commentator meeting that he performs better under threat, “DC” likened him to a honey badger. Usually attacking only when threatened by predators, honey badgers are arguably one the fiercest fighters of the animal kingdom, known to take on larger animals like leopards and lions. While Aspinall was still reluctant to have a nickname, “Honey Badger” certainly got his attention.

“I’ve always been against nicknames, like for myself, not against all the people’s, but I always thought it’s a bit corny... But they started talking about this honey badger thing,” Aspinall recently told Title Sports Network. “That was [Daniel Cormier]. So on fight week we’ve like a fighter meeting with the commentators and stuff. And I was basically saying, ‘Look, I don’t do it that well in the gym. I do it a lot better in fights than I do in the gym.’ And he said, ‘Oh why is that?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m in scared in fights, I’m not scared in the gym. And I think I perform a lot better under pressure and fear.’

“And then ‘DC’ was like, ‘You’re like a honey badger.’ And I was like, ‘What’s that?’ I had no idea what that was. And then he said, ‘Oh it’s like this little animal and it’s like a nice, easygoing animal. Well then when it’s scared, it attacks lions and stuff and can kill lions, kill other big animals when it’s attacked and it’s scared. It goes out of its own body and does things it wouldn’t usually do.’ And I was like, ‘That’s pretty cool but I still don’t want a nickname.’ And now as time’s going on I’m like, ‘If I’m going to have a nickname, it might as well be that.’… It was ‘DC’ and Jon Anik.”

Aspinall will defend his interim belt in a rematch against Curtis Blaydes at UFC 304 at on July 27 at the Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, England.
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