Aspinall calls for UFC to strip Jones of title, wants Miocic next
UFC interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall wants the UFC to strip Jon Jones of the heavyweight title due to the injury that will keep him sidelined well into 2024.
Aspinall, who captured the interim belt with a knockout win over Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295 last weekend, called for the promotion to elevate him to undisputed status in a recent interview with UFC commentator Michael Bisping.
"I think Jon Jones should be stripped of the title, to be honest, because everyone else does when they get injured like that," Aspinall said. "I don't see why he's still got it. I don't understand that. I think I should be the real champion right now."
UFC CEO Dana White said after UFC 295 that he planned to rebook Jones against former two-time champ Stipe Miocic next year, leaving Aspinall in somewhat of an awkward position as the interim titleholder. The matchup between Jones and Miocic was scheduled to headline the Madison Square Garden event before Jones suffered a torn pectoral muscle and underwent surgery.
Aspinall believes he should face Miocic in an undisputed title bout while Jones is recovering.
"It's hard to say without sounding rude, but who's asked about Jon Jones and Stipe anymore?" Aspinall said. "Why do we get this legacy fight and they get to live by their own rules? What's a legacy fight? What's a retirement fight for a title? I want to fight Stipe and then I want to fight Jon Jones. ... I think all this other stuff is a load of rubbish. Stop protecting him now. Stop protecting your boy at the top there, Jon Jones. If he's injured, get out of the way. I'll fight Stipe."
Aspinall doesn't think it makes sense for him to defend the interim title against a contender like Ciryl Gane or Jailton Almeida.
"I'm the champion right now," Aspinall said. "I should fight for the championship title."
However, that doesn't rule out the possibility of Aspinall making his next walk to the Octagon against someone other than Jones or Miocic. The Englishman said he doesn't want to sit out for very long and is open to squaring off with the winner of a potential matchup between Gane and Almeida.
"I'll let a bit of time pass, see what happens," Aspinall said. "But I'm not waiting for two years to fight. It's not happening. I need to fight."
Ultimately, Aspinall believes a fight with Miocic will materialize.