Jon Jones justifies decision to fight Stipe Miocic next over ‘another potential hype train’ Tom Aspinall

Jon Jones isn’t deviating from his plan to fight Stipe Miocic next no matter how many times people try to tell him he should be chasing interim UFC heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall.

In a series of messages unleashed on Twitter, Jones scoffed at suggestions that he should abandon the fight against Miocic, which was originally scheduled for UFC 295 this past November until Jones tore a pectoral muscle that forced the 36-year-old veteran out of the matchup. With Jones sidelined, the UFC opted to book Aspinall in an interim title fight against Sergei Pavlovich to help save the pay-per-view, which took an understandable hit with the original headliner falling apart.

Ever since Aspinall made quick work of Pavlovich, he’s been calling for a fight against Jones but the reigning UFC heavyweight champion remains adamant that he’s focused only on Miocic next when he returns from injury.

“I’m in the middle of a pretty clear decision,” Jones wrote. “Stick to exact and original plans, and fight the man with all the accolades or completely disregard all of the Stipe training I’ve put in and fight another potential hype train that may not even be around in three years.

“I am not changing my plans for anyone. Stipe is over there as the best heavyweight ever working his ass off. I’m gonna give that man what he wants, and I’m going to claim another head. Whatever comes next comes next.”

In a perfect world, Jones wouldn’t have suffered an injury and he would have faced Miocic in 2023, which would have then lined up other contenders like Aspinall for a shot at the belt.

With Jones sidelined, the UFC opted to introduce the interim title, which muddied the waters when it comes to deciding the next title challenger. For his part, Jones understands why the UFC made the interim title fight, but he doesn’t agree with the decision because of the shadow cast over his already expected matchup against Miocic.

“UFC is a brilliant company, did what they had to do to save the event,” Jones wrote. “But I do agree with you, it definitely confused a bunch of UK fans, got them entitled thinking their boy really is the champion. It reminds me of when [Daniel Cormier] was the ‘champion’ during my absence.”

Jones also disagrees with the notion that he’s holding up the heavyweight division because he’s waiting to fight Miocic later this year.

While he’s resolved in the decision to make that his next fight, Jones believes that Aspinall could and should still be fighting in his absence, which hasn’t happened yet. Aspinall hasn’t fought since this past November when he claimed the interim title in 69 seconds.

“I think it’s great to see the UFC showing such a level of respect to their champion athletes,” Jones said. “I’ve dedicated my entire adult life to the sport, I think I’m allowed to get hurt once. This injury was supposed to take up to a year to heal, but I’m already back in pre-camp, I’m committed to progression.

“And besides, there’s not many people in the heavyweight division right now that are capable of creating super fights. If Alex [Pereira] doesn’t move up in the near future, you’re not really missing out on much. The belt will just be tossed around like usual business.”

While Aspinall has stated that he’s more than willing to stay active in Jones’ absence with all signs pointing to his return at UFC 304, which takes place in Manchester, England, in July, he remains unbooked.

In Jones’ mind, it looks like Aspinall is sitting and waiting for a title unification bout rather than just facing the next contender in line.

“Would you agree that it’s just as selfish to have a completely healthy [interim] champion who is only 30 years old, sitting out and waiting to fight the winner of a 42 and 36 year old,” Jones wrote. “Who literally actually already committed to fighting each other? No one stopping anyone, I’m on a mission.”

Jones also addressed the persistent rumors that he may actually call it a career after facing Miocic, who he’s long targeted thanks to the Ohio native owning the record for the most successful UFC heavyweight title defenses (3).

Jones views Miocic as a huge jewel to add to his crown as arguably the greatest mixed martial artist in history and there might not be much left to achieve after that.

“I was talking about retirement after Stipe way before there was an [interim] champion announced,” Jones said. “I would literally be in the same exact position if Sergei [had the interim title]. I love how the UK have convinced themselves I’m afraid of their [interim] champion. Opens me up to a whole new fanbase. They all know who the actual champion is.”

As of now, there’s still no word when Jones may fight Miocic, although it’s likely the fight happens in either September, November, or December based on the current UFC schedule. With pay-per-views happening in England in July, Australia in August, and Abu Dhabi in October, the domestic schedule only leaves UFC 306 at Sphere in Las Vegas in September, an expected event at Madison Square Garden in New York in November, and the year-end event usually held in Las Vegas in December as options.

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