After his emphatic first-round knockout win against a terrifying Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295, Tom Aspinall secured the interim UFC heavyweight title. And now he wants to unify the championship by facing off against the current UFC heavyweight champion: Jon Jones.
The only problem is that Jones, who was slated to defend his title against former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic on November 11th at UFC 295, had to pull out of that fight due to a torn pectoralis tendon and bone spurs in his left elbow, both of which required surgery.
Aspinall has taken umbrage with the fact that Jones, when he’s fully recovered from his injury, will opt to still fight Stipe instead of unifying the heavyweight titles.
“Stipe is one of my favourites,” Aspinall said on Twitter. “Loads of respect to him his Résumé is far superior to mine [right now]. That being said the UFC has never been about this. It’s about who’s the best right now, and I believe that’s me and it’s only right I get to prove it.”
Jones of course, fired back with his own set of tweets, where he said, “Only four recognizable opponents, and already the king of England, must be nice” and “There will be legendary tales told about you and your infamous call outs” and “I was a champion when I was 23 years old, you can’t show up at age 30 pretending like you’ve been chasing me your whole life. I have no clue who 90% of his résumé is, meanwhile, I’ve been highlighting UFC events my entire career.”
Former UFC fighter and current analyst Michael Bisping believes that Jones should fight Asinall before he retires or it will tarnish his legacy.
“I always said him going up to heavyweight– he doesn’t need to stick around for a long time and defeat the best up and coming contenders,” Bisping said of Jones on his YouTube channel. “He doesn’t need to do that. He’s got nothing to prove. His resume at 205 was ridiculous. Comes up to heavyweight, beats Cyril. Beat Stipe… he needs that third fight.
“You have to beat somebody to become the champ. You have to beat Stipe to be considered the greatest heavyweight of all time, and then you have to beat the number 1 contender. He doesn’t have anything to prove other than he can beat Tom Aspinall.”
“If he does retire right now, that is always going to be the narrative,” Bisping continued. “There’s people out there, and I know this annoys Jones, so I’m sorry to bring it up: people say that he avoided Francis Ngannou. I’m not saying that, but that’s a narrative that exists. I don’t think that’s true, but people do say that. As I say, he’s a sensitive guy. Fight us off, especially when you attack our work. So that annoys him. If he doesn’t fight Tom Aspinall, if he beats Stipe, that will forever be the narrative.
“That will forever be the narrative that he’s ducking Tom Aspinall, that he’s afraid of Tom Aspinall, that he looks at Tom Aspinall, this gigantic man, a true heavyweight that moves like a middleweight, that has ridiculous finishing ability. A heavyweight Georges St-Pierre. A mixed martial arts version of Muhammad Ali. That is what I think Tom Aspinall will go down as and that will be the person that Jones will be forever accused of avoiding in a fight.”
“He can’t retire without taking out the next top guy. Right? Especially when that next top guy has an interim belt, especially if Tom Aspinall goes out there and defends the interim belt… How on earth can Jon Jones retire when there’s another active defending heavyweight champion? You just can’t do that. That is madness, and it will affect his legacy and tarnish his accomplishments forever.
“Jones is incredible,” Bisping said. “I’m a fan. I say he’s the GOAT, but things change, times change, people change.”
Do you agree with Michael Bisping that if Jon Jones doesn’t fight Tom Aspinall it will ‘forever be the narrative’ that he ducked him? Do you think it would tarnish Jones’ legacy at all? Let us know in the comments.