Tom Aspinall scored the biggest win of his career at UFC 295, dispatching knockout artist Sergei Pavlovich just past the one-minute mark to claim the interim heavyweight world championship.
Aspinall and Pavlovich stepped into the co-main event slot with just two weeks to prepare after undisputed titleholder Jon Jones was forced to withdraw from his scheduled headliner against consensus heavyweight GOAT Stipe Miocic following a pectoral injury sustained during training.
Winning his first UFC title, Aspinall was understandably overcome with emotions. However, not everyone was in the mood to celebrate the big man’s big win, including former two-division champ Henry Cejudo.
“Watching Tom Aspinall win the interim world title, he’s already celebrating,” Cejudo said on YouTube. “It’s an interim, Tom! Save those tears for when you actually win the real belt. Sometimes, when I see people like that, they just get too emotional after an interim belt. Yeah, you got a trophy, but they might as well dip that thing in either silver or bronze because it’s not the real thing” (h/t MMA News).
Cejudo Implores Tom Aspinall to ‘Save Those Tears’ for the real deal
‘Triple C’ had already levied criticism against the booking of the interim title fight, suggesting that the bout was not worthy of the honors. He also accused the UFC of diluting what it means to be called a champion.
“As a competitor, I start to think about their mentalities,” Cejudo continued. “How is it or what is it that makes them — has he thought that he’s reached the pinnacle of the world? I’m not picking on you, Tom. I’m just saying to you, save those tears for when you actually own the undisputed title.”
With five straight finishes inside the Octagon, Aspinall appeared to be closing in on a UFC title opportunity before disaster struck 15 seconds into his July 2022 clash with Curtis Blaydes. Aspinall went down in the opening moments due to a knee injury that kept him shelved until the following year.
Returning at UFC London, Aspinall picked up right where he left off with a 73-second knockout of Marcin Tybura followed by the late-notice opportunity against Pavlovich.