The question of what’s next for interim UFC light heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall arose not long after UFC CEO Dana White wrapped the belt around Aspinall’s waist following his win knockout win over Sergei Pavlovich in the co-main event of UFC 295. That question remains unanswered.
The UFC booked Aspinall to face Pavlovich on short notice on the November 11 fight card at Madison Square Garden in New York City after news broke that current UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones was injured and unable to fight former two-time UFC heavyweight kingpin Stipe Miocic on that card. Aspinall knocked out Pavlovich 69 seconds into the interim title fight to claim the belt.
After the event, White shot down the idea of Aspinall facing Jones in a title unification bout or Miocic in defense of his newly obtained interim crown.
“No,” White said at the UFC 295 post-fight press conference. “You do those two. Those two both deserve that fight. That’s the fight they want. What I love is that Jon Jones, as soon as he heard that he was injured and he knew how bad it was, went right to LA, got the surgery, and he’s already in rehab, physical therapy, I should say.”
When asked what might be next for Aspinall, White hedged.
“I don’t know, we’ll see how that plays out,” White said. “We’ll see what happens. [Aspinall] took this fight on short notice. Obviously, he looked great. He’s got plenty of money to chill out for a minute, and we’ll see.”
As for Aspinall, the 30-year-old has some ideas about what he wants to see happen with Jones and his UFC title.
“I think Jon Jones should be stripped from the title, to be honest, because everyone else does when they get injured like that,” Aspinall told former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping.
“I don’t see why he’s still got it. I don’t understand that,” Aspinall continued. “I should be the real champion right now.”
Aspinall’s confusion extends to why the UFC wants the Jones vs. Miocic fight to bet the next UFC heavyweight title fight.
“It’s hard to say without sounding rude, but who [is asking] about Jon Jones and Stipe anymore,” Aspinall asked. “Why do we get this legacy fight? And they get to live by their own rules? What’s a legacy fight — 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 rubbish. Stop protecting him now. Stop protecting your boy Jon Jones at the top. If he’s injured, get out of the way, and I’ll fight Stipe.”