Tom Aspinall giving up on Jon Jones fight, teases potential return at UFC Manchester event in July

Tom Aspinall giving up on Jon Jones fight, teases potential return at UFC Manchester event in July

Tom Aspinall is done trying to goad Jon Jones into a fight.

Aspinall, who currently sits as the UFC’s interim heavyweight world champion, has been in limbo ever since his 69-second knockout of Sergei Pavlovich in November to capture the temporary title.

Tom Aspinall KOs Sergei Pavlovich

Traditionally, the interim champ would move on to meet the undisputed titleholder — that being Jon Jones — once cleared for a return. Unfortunately, for Aspinall, that does not appear to be the case.

‘Bones’ has remained insistent that he will settle some business with consensus heavyweight GOAT Stipe Miocic before even humoring a potential clash with Aspinall. As a result, the Salford, England native is looking for a fight elsewhere.

Answering questions on his YouTube channel, Tom Aspinall was asked about the possibility of competing in July when the promotion returns to Manchester. He could neither confirm nor deny rumors of his return, but noted that conversations are taking place and moving “in the right direction.”

“I cannot confirm or deny because I will be getting told off if I do either, but I’m hearing strong rumors and I’m in talks right now with the UFC about what’s going to happen, what’s going to be the next step, stuff like that,” Aspinall said. “Nothing that I can announce yet, nothing set in stone yet, but we’re moving in the right direction with it all” (h/t MMA Fighting).

As for who Aspinall would face, Curtis Blaydes appears to be the clear-cut favorite. After all, ‘Razor’ is the only man to own a victory over Aspinall inside the Octagon — though that was the result of an injury Aspinall suffered 15 seconds into their UFC Fight Night headliner in July 2022. Still, Aspinall would love the chance to get that one back and rectify the only blemish on his UFC record.

“I’d like to fight Curtis Blaydes because when I fought him I got injured and that means that technically he wins and I don’t like that,” Aspionall said. “I want to be the winner, not Curtis Blaydes, so all respect to Curtis and everything. Like him, good guy, professionally I owe him a beating, so that’s what I want to do next.”

Blaydes is coming off a massive win against Brazilian submission specialist Jailton Almeida at UFC 299, pounding out a victory with a series of brutal hammer fists in the opening minute of round two.

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Curtis Blaydes finishes Jailton Almeida with GNP

Tom Aspinall is moving on from Jon Jones

While Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic is an exciting fight on paper — pitting two of MMA’s GOATs against one another — the fight means next to nothing in the grand scheme of things. The biggest matchup that can be made in the heavyweight division right now is Jon Jones vs. Tom Aspinall. And it’s a fight that Aspinall truly believes he can win.

“I’m obviously confident that I could beat Jon Jones because I want to fight him,” Aspinall said. “I’m not making it a secret that I want to fight him. I’ve done everything I can until this point. Do I fear him? Absolutely. I fear all of my opponents. These guys are the best in the world, absolute best in the world. Absolutely I fear him, that fuels me. So I want to prove that I’m the best in the world. I want to fight Jon Jones, obviously, but he doesn’t, so there’s not a lot I can do about that.”

Recently, Aspinall and Jones met up at an event in Birmingham with the interim champ asking for the fight face-to-face. Jones, of course, was non-committal, and based on the undisputed titleholder’s body language during the somewhat awkward interaction, Aspinall would be downright shocked if the two of them ever stepped foot inside the Octagon.

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Tom Apsinall meets Jon Jones

“No, I don’t think Jon wants to fight,” Aspinall said. “Obviously, I want it. I can’t do anymore. I’ve bitched about him, I’ve cried about him, I’ve said good stuff to him, said bad stuff to him, I’ve asked him about fighting to his face, it’s still not going on. I’ve asked the UFC to fight him, it’s still not going on, so I don’t know what else I can do at this point. But I want the fight, obviously.”