NEW YORK – Right now, two men hold gold in the UFC heavyweight division, but one of them isn’t in line for the next undisputed title shot.
At UFC 295, Tom Aspinall surprised many when he toppled towering Russian contender Sergei Pavlovich with a TKO stoppage in Round 1 that earned him the interim title.
Despite Aspinall’s thrilling performance on two weeks’ notice, UFC CEO Dana White said the promotion’s plans will revert back to the Point A, even though Jones is on the shelf as he recovers from a torn pectoral muscle. Aspinall (14-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC) will have to wait.
“You do those two,” White said of Jones and Miocic. “Those two both deserve that fight. That’s the fight they want. What I love is that Jon Jones, as soon as he heard 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.”
While the next undisputed title fight will be Jones (27-1 MMA, 21-1 UFC) vs. Miocic (20-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC), White didn’t rule out Aspinall could defend the interim title in the meantime.
“I don’t know,” White said. “We’ll see how that plays out. 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. We’ll see.”
The targeted timeline for Jones’ return is June 2024. He’s hinted the fight will likely be his last. As for Miocic, the future is a bit more clouded. White said he recently ate lunch with Miocic, who told him he wasn’t sure whether or not the fight would be his last.
“‘I don’t even know,'” White said Miocic told him. “‘All I care about right now is Jon Jones. It’s the only thing I’m focused on. I want this fight really bad.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 295.