UFC 295 marked the breakthrough moment for top contender Tom Aspinall, demonstrating his prowess as he swiftly knocked out Sergei Pavlovich in the opening round to claim the Interim Heavyweight title. Facing knockout specialist Sergei Pavlovich, the prevailing prediction was that Aspinall needed to survive the initial round to secure victory.
The championship bout was arranged at the last minute due to the undisputed champion, Jon Jones, sustaining a torn pectoral muscle during training, leading to the cancellation of his scheduled match against Stipe Miocic.
However, defying expectations and turning the tables on the Russian, who had previously concluded six consecutive fights in the first frame, the Manchester native secured a knockout in under 90 seconds. In the moments following the victory, Aspinall was overcome with emotion, expressing that he had fulfilled his lifelong dream of achieving championship success on the grand stage of MMA.
While the emotions were justified as Aspinall had just earned his first championship belt in the promotion, former UFC double champ Henry Cejudo thought the celebration was a bit too much from Aspinall as it was just an interim title and not the undisputed belt.
“Watching Tom Aspinall win the interim world title, he’s already celebrating. It’s an interim, Tom! Save those tears for when you actually win the real 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,” said Henry Cejudo.
The 30-year-old British fighter was swiftly advancing towards a heavyweight title shot in 2022. However, a severe knee injury forced him into a year-long hiatus. Making a triumphant return at UFC London in July, he secured a victory against the formidable Marcin Tybura.
Henry Cejudo wants Jon Jones to fight Tom Aspinall next
While the UFC remains committed to organizing the Jones vs. Miocic matchup in the coming year, Aspinall is asserting his right to be the first contender to challenge and potentially dethrone ‘Bones’. In his quest for a unification showdown, the interim champion finds support from none other than the former UFC champion Henry Cejudo.
“I personally think I like this fight better now for Jon Jones, and that’s Tom Aspinall vs. Jon Jones. I like that better than the Stipe fight,” said Triple C on his YouTube channel.
Now, the looming presence of Jon Jones, the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, adds intrigue to the Englishman’s future. It seems logical for the two fighters to face off and unify the belts. However, he must wait for ‘Bones’ to recover from his torn pectoral. Despite the uncertainty of getting the opportunity to prove himself against Jones, Tom Aspinall maintains his belief that he is the best active heavyweight in MMA.