Tom Aspinall won the UFC interim heavyweight title on Saturday with a knockout victory over Sergei Pavlovich in just 69 seconds, and now he’s calling for current champion Jon Jones to fight him instead of Stipe Miocic next.
“I’m not the biggest fan of sitting and waiting to be honest,” Aspinall told TMZ Sports. “I don’t like to be like entitled now even though I’m the champion. I don’t want to be this guy who’s like thinks he’s better than everyone or something like that. I want to fight Jon Jones, and I think, this is no disrespect to Stipe at all, but after a performance like Saturday night who really cares about 42-year old Stipe, who has not fought in three of four years, coming back and fighting Jon Jones?
“I’ve just knocked out the scariest guy in the UFC in a minute. I know it’s like a big respect thing. Stipe’s like the greatest heavyweight ever and Jon Jones is arguably the greatest MMA fighter ever. I get that. I completely get it, but it’s also about relevance. It’s also about excitement. It’s also about what puts people in seats, what people are going to buy pay-per-views. I’m more exciting than anybody right now. I deserve a shot. I’m the champion.
“Jon Jones is the champion. I’m not saying that he’s not, but I’m a champion as well and Stipe’s, this is no disrespect to Stipe… But Stipe at this point is a guy that hasn’t fought for three years and is coming off a loss.”
Despite his plea, for the time being the UFC’s plan appears to be to wait for Jones to heal up from his current injury and then proceed with his intended fight against Miocic.
It’s still possible they could change their minds though, and Aspinall is confident that he has the ability to beat Jones.
“I think at this point now everyone knows that I’m an honest guy. I’m not the guy that’s going to blow my own trumpet or anything like that, but I’m being completely honest. I think, as I said, Stipe’s going to be 43 years old by the time Jon Jones comes back and he’s coming off a loss that he took, it’ll be coming up to four years ago by the time Jon Jones comes back. Who wants to see that in comparison to me who’s knocking everybody out in the first round?”
“I think if you put me in there with anybody with how dangerous and explosive, and not just my physical attributes, but my mental attributes is what sets me apart from other fighters. I can make really good decisions under massive pressure, and not everybody can do that. I use that to my advantage every fight that I’m in. If I’m in there, no matter what circumstances, I just proved that on Saturday, of what circumstances that I’m under I can win. I’ve done it against everybody else, why can’t I do it against Jon Jones? Absolutely I can beat (Jon). If I hit anybody clean, I can knock them out. I’m 100 percent, I’m sure of it.”