Sergei Pavlovich grinned as he responded to Tom Aspinall labelling him ‘the scariest guy in the UFC’ ahead of their fight.
The streaking Russian contender is set to face Aspinall in a short-notice interim heavyweight title fight at UFC 295 in New York on Saturday night.
After agreeing to take the biggest fight of his life with no training camp, the British fan favourite talked up his opponent and the task in front of him.
“I know a s***load of people at the top that turned down Sergei Pavlovich and I’m out here taking him on two weeks’ notice,” Aspinall told The Mac Life.
“No questions asked, that’s the UFC. They asked me at 4am with no training camp and I’m like, ‘Yeah, no problem!’
“Didn’t ask about the contract, didn’t ask about the money, nothing.
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“I just said yes. There’s not a lot of people that are doing that. I’ll fight this scariest guy in the UFC who no one else wants to fight.
“He’s knocking everyone out. I’ll do that, no problem. I think I should be getting some goddamn credit for it.”
Aspinall has repeated his claim several times ahead of UFC 295 and Pavlovich finally got the chance to respond to his opponent’s praise.
A smile beamed across the 31-year-old Russian’s face when he was asked to react to being repeatedly called ‘the scariest guy in the UFC.’
“Thank you very much, Tom,” Pavlovich told talkSPORT.com and other reporters via an interpreter at the UFC 295 media day on Wednesday.
Pavlovich was subsequently asked to describe his next opponent and his response suggested he has a high opinion of the man he must beat to become a UFC champion this weekend.
He added: “I will say a couple of words. Tough dude!”
Pavlovich was stopped by Alistair Overeem in his UFC debut but has since put together a six-fight win streak and KO’d all of his opponents, including Tai Tuivasa, Derrick Lewis, and Curtis Blaydes, in the first round.
Aspinall returned to the Octagon in July after a year-long injury layoff that derailed his impressive heavyweight title charge.
The Englishman could become just the third British fighter to win a UFC belt, following in the footsteps of MMA legend Michael Bisping and current welterweight king Leon Edwards.