Tom Aspinall says Jon Jones was ‘smart’ to avoid faceoff with him: ‘That promotes a potential fight’

Tom Aspinall thinks Jon Jones isn’t keen on fighting him, ever.

Last November, Jones was supposed to defend his UFC heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic at UFC 295, until an injury forced the fight to get postponed. Instead, Aspinall stepped in on short notice to face back-up fighter Sergei Pavlovich for the interim heavyweight title, winning the belt in just 69 seconds.

After that, Aspinall called for a title unification bout with Jones, however Jones rebuffed him. That hasn’t stopped Aspinall from trying though, and in March, the two had an impromptu run-in with one another at the Arnold Sports Festival in Birmingham, England, which made headlines. But speaking Monday on The MMA Hour, Aspinall explained that it really wasn’t a big deal.

“We were both doing meet and greets, but we were like 20 meters away from each other,” Aspinall said. “The whole day! I was like, I can’t just leave without saying hello. I just want to go and say hello. But his manager didn’t want me to go over. … Even when I went over, I was pretty close to him and he was like, ‘No, no, no, no! You can’t do this!’ [I said,] ‘I’m just saying hello. I just want to say hello. I’m not trying to cause a scene or nothing.’

“I honestly wasn’t trying to cause a scene. I just wanted to see, face-to-face — I was like, ‘Are we going to do this? Oh, I’d like to,’ and he gave me the brush off. And that’s it.”

The interaction was so brief that Jones and Aspinall didn’t even have a faceoff with one another, which Aspinall believes was a calculated decision by Jones.

“I wanted to face off,” Aspinall said. “Jon’s smart, you know? … Jon will not say anywhere — you can’t find it, it’s not out there — that he will fight me. He won’t say it anywhere publicly. He won’t say it. You can’t find a clip, a quote, nothing, anywhere, of Jon Jones saying, ‘One day I’m going to fight Tom Aspinall, and I’m going to freaking beat the brakes off him. That’s what I’m going to do.’ That doesn’t exist. He doesn’t want any evidence, anywhere, of him agreeing to any kind of fight with me, because he doesn’t want to go back on that.

“He doesn’t want to do a faceoff because that promotes a potential fight. When I ask him, ‘Jon are we going to do this?’ He doesn’t say, ‘Absolutely. Let me get Stipe out of the way and we’ll do it.’ He’ll instead say, ‘Oh, maybe one day.’ Because he doesn’t want that quote of, ‘We’re going to fight one day.’ It’s super smart.”

Jones’s refusal to engage with Aspinall in any way contrasts his various interactions with former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. Despite the two fighters being in different promotions, Jones was more than willing to engage in a prolonged faceoff with Ngannou at a PFL event last year.

As things stand, Jones appears to be set on fighting Miocic sometime later this year, and while he left the door open for a possible fight with Aspinall somewhere down the line, many fans believe Jones will retire after facing Miocic. Even if he doesn’t retire, that’s not the only thing that could play havoc with Jones’ fighting career. The mercurial superstar has an extensive history of legal troubles, and once against found himself in controversy over the weekend, adding another possible wrinkle to Jones’s future in the cage.

So, given the massive uncertainty regarding a possible Jones fight, Aspinall isn’t too concerned one way or another if they ever do meet inside the octagon.

“Honestly, I don’t spend my days thinking about Jon Jones,” Aspinall said. “On the contrary to what people think, I’m not desperate for it. That fight doesn’t define my career. It would be great, it would be nice, but I’ve got other ways to prove myself. I’m going to be around this sport for at least another five years. At least. Minimum. So it would be great. If I get the fight, fantastic. But I’m not like, ‘Oh, look at what Jon’s done again! It’s never going to happen! Oh my God!’ That’s Jon’s business. Jon can do his thing. If we fight, great. If we don’t, great as well. All respect to Jon Jones, one of the GOATs of the sport.”

Source link

You May Also Like