Tom Aspinall, the recently-minted interim UFC heavyweight champion, has made no bones of the fact that he wants to fight Jon Jones for the undisputed heavyweight title in his next trip to the cage.
Some, though, aren’t quite so down with the idea — notably Jones himself, who has recently questioned Aspinall’s record and stated that he wants to keep his current course when he returns from injury; a fight with former heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic. But it isn’t just Jones who appears to be against the idea, so too is the often toxic landscape of social media where Aspinall says he has received a torrent of abuse for chasing his dream of the undisputed heavyweight championship.
“It’s still something I’m trying to deal with myself,” Aspinall told OLGB of some of the messages he has received from ‘fans’ in recent weeks. “People on the internet are wild. You have to kind of see it for what it is. It’s not real life, a lot of it comes from jealousy. People don’t like to see other people do well, unfortunately that’s the way of the world. With a lot of love comes a lot of hate as well. That’s the way the cookie crumbles unfortunately.”
However, that’s not to say that it doesn’t get to him.
“I’m human so it affects me sometimes,” Aspinall admitted. “But I try to just turn a blind eye to it and just crack on. The internet is a strange place. I clicked on my message requests by accident the other day and people are sending me death threats for wanting to fight Jon Jones, who’s the best in the world and it’s madness.
“You just think what the f*ck is going on in your life that you want to say that you want to kill somebody else because they want to fight, it’s madness.”
But from his own point of view, Aspinall says that Jones is using every trick in the book to avoid fighting him — a bout which he now believes will never happen.
“Jones is great at deflecting the truth; he’s like a politician,” Aspinall said. “When I start talking about wanting to fight him he starts talking about resumes and history and the things that he’s done that’s better than me. I have no qualms whatsoever about saying that his resume is better than mine. What I say in return is — it doesn’t matter about resumes, I just want to fight him and beat him right now and he doesn’t want to do that.”
Furthermore, Aspinall says that he believes that the UFC don’t want the fight to happen, a situation he says he assumes is down to money.
“The UFC do not want it,” Aspinall said. “I don’t know why this is happening, money I guess, I don’t know what’s going on, it’s completely unheard of that when you’ve got a healthy champion – and I know Jon Jones isn’t healthy at the moment but he will become healthy – and when he returns it’s completely unheard of [to not make the fight between champions].”
And as for Jones himself?
“I think he will retire before he fights me,” the Briton predicted. “He’s already said as much. He’s a smart guy and a politician the way he deflects questions and sneakily says he’s the guy that’s going to retire and not stick around longer than he should.”