Tom Aspinall says it's time to move on from Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic. The new interim heavyweight champion made a strong case for unifying the titles in the aftermath of a thrillingat UFC 295 on Saturday.
It's typical for the undisputed and interim champions to fight each other in a title unification bout. Unfortunately, Aspinall is in a peculiar position as the UFC insists on rebooking Jones vs. Miocic. The heavyweight title fight was originally scheduled to headline UFC 295 but an injury forced Jones off the card. The UFC pivoted to an interim title fight between Pavlovich and Aspinall, removing Miocic completely to save their original marquee for a different day.
"I think that Stipe and Jones is an absolutely amazing matchup, but, in my opinion, that was an amazing matchup this past weekend," Aspinall told "The MMA Hour" on Monday. "I feel like the shine of that fight is kinda gone, I don't know how anyone else feels about that. But I feel right now, I think you have to make either me and Jones or me and Stipe."
Aspinall's first-round knockout of Pavlovich placed him on the shortlist for best heavyweight today. Aspinall described Jones vs. Miocic as a consolation prize and said he should be next to fight two of the best champions in UFC history.
"What's the point in the other stuff? Let's move forward," Aspinall said. "I'll fight one of the legends now and let me move forward in my career as opposed to this, waiting around... I don't want to see that, and I don't think anyone else wants to see that in a year's time. Let's move on from that now, and let me fight one of the legends and beat a legend."
The reality is that Aspinall may never fight Jones or Miocic. UFC president Dana White has acknowledged the possibility that Jones and Miocic may both retire in the aftermath of their planned heavyweight title fight. Aspinall defending the interim title or graduating to undisputed champ seems more likely than fighting Jones. Ciryl Gane has announced his desire to fight Aspinall, but England's third UFC champion suggests a title eliminator is in order.
Congratulations, Tom.— Ciryl Gane (@ciryl_gane) November 12, 2023
You are now the champion and become the one being pursued, and I am the hunter. See you soon 👀
"That's interesting after I just called him out, went to France, and he turned the fight down," Aspinall said. "I think he should fight [Jailton] Almeida. I think them guys should fight each other first and see what happens there."
More UFC news, rumors
- It feels like every UFC champion has their eyes set on champ-champ status and Leon Edwards is no different. The welterweight titleholder recently announced his desire to move up in weight if he defeats Colby Covington at UFC 296. Edwards wants to face the winner of Sean Strickland vs. Dricus du Plessis in a bid to become the middleweight champion. "I feel like that would be perfect," Edwards said in an interview with Sky Sports. "I feel like me going out there, being double champ, first-ever from the U.K. to do it, that's definitely one of my goals. That's in the cards for sure."
- UFC president Dana White is making good on two recent aspirations: making Noche UFC an annual tradition and booking a UFC card inside the Las Vegas sphere. White announced that UFC has booked the viral 18,000-person capacity venue for Sept. 14, the weekend before Mexican Independence Day. "It's going to be a massive challenge, and I love every minute of it," White said at the UFC 295 post-fight press conference on Saturday. "I can't wait to dive into this thing." The immersive $2.3 billion venue has video walls stretching high above the stage and a customizable globe exterior boasting a 160,000-square-foot LED screen. The inaugural Noche UFC event was headlined by Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko 2.