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Tom Aspinall will be hoping that last weekend’s viral confrontation with Jon Jones won’t be as close as he ever gets to the UFC heavyweight champion. 

Aspinall, the promotion’s interim heavyweight champion, made headlines this past weekend when he approached Jones at a fan event in Birmingham, UK to introduce himself to the fighter he has been actively pursuing a bout with. The meeting was something of a cold affair, with Jones turning down Aspinall’s request for a face-off photo and also brushing the Englishman’s hand off his shoulder.

But while some fighters have no doubt retreated within themselves when placed face-to-face with one of the most dominant champions in mixed martial arts history, Aspinall says that he left the event having increased faith in his ability to hand the American his first legitimate defeat in MMA competition.

“That was the first time I’ve met him,” Aspinall said in a video posted online shortly after the confrontation. “He’s nowhere near as big as I thought. I thought he was a lot taller.

“I guess when you fight at light heavyweight your whole career — I mean he’s six-four — you look really tall. But I’m a full-grown heavyweight, aren’t I.”

Aspinall added: “He’s nowhere near as big as me… I’ll take that one. I think I beat him, definitely.”

Jones was expected to fight former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic late last year before being ruled out by a pectoral injury sustained in preparation. Aspinall, who defeated Sergey Pavlovich in a bout to contest the interim heavyweight championship in November, has vocally campaigned for a bout with Jones — who instead has remained focused on facing Miocic once he is cleared to return, presumably later this year.

Aspinall’s next move remains uncertain, given that his interim championship effectively guarantees him a shot at the undisputed belt.

However, judging by his comments after meeting Jones last weekend — the Briton is more confident than ever in his ability to become the first man to score a clean victory over the dominant champion.