Jones parries talk of facing Aspinall 'hype train,' wants Miocic next

UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones has made it clear that he wants to face former champion Stipe Miocic next and has dismissed a unification bout with interim champion Tom Aspinall.

"I'm in the middle of a pretty clear decision," Jones said on X. "Stick to exact and original plans and fight the man with all the accolades. Or, completely disregard all of the Stipe training I've put in and fight another potential hype train that may not even be around in three years."

The potential hype train that Jones speaks of is the 31-year-old Aspinall, who claimed the interim championship last November with a first-round knockout of Sergei Pavlovich. Outside of an injury that caused a TKO loss to Curtis Blaydes in 2022, Aspinall's run in the UFC has seen him finish all seven of his opponents, with no fighter lasting longer than 7 minutes in the Octagon with him.

Aspinall has repeatedly called for a unification fight with Jones. However, Jones is simply not interested in anybody not named Stipe Miocic.

"I am not changing my plans for anyone," Jones said. "Stipe is over there as the best heavyweight ever working his ass off. I'm gonna give that man what he wants, and I'm going to claim another head. Whatever comes next comes next."

Jones, 36, hasn't fought since March 2023, when the former light heavyweight champion made his heavyweight debut against Ciryl Gane for the vacant championship. Jones submitted Gane in just over two minutes and set his sights on the man who has often been called the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time. A fight between Jones and Miocic -- who hasn't won a fight in nearly four years -- was scheduled for UFC 295 last November but Jones suffered an injury and was forced out of the fight.

Jones placed much of the blame for the confusion about a potential unification bout on the UFC for elevating the Aspinall-Pavlovich fight to the main event and making it for the interim title at UFC 295.

"UFC is a brilliant company [and] did what they had to do to save the event," Jones said in response to a commenter stating the interim title shouldn't have been introduced once he fell to injury. "But I do agree with you, it definitely confused a bunch of UK fans, got them entitled thinking their boy really is the champion. It reminds me of when DC [Daniel Cormier] was the 'champion' during my absence."

There is no timetable for when Jones will return to the Octagon, but he did mention that he's in the beginning stages of getting into fight shape. Meanwhile, there is speculation that Aspinall will defend the interim title at UFC 304, which takes place at the Co-op Live in Manchester, England on July 27.

A unification bout with Aspinall may take place down the line, but Jones is only interested in facing Miocic next.

"That's one thing about this sport, there will always be that next challenger," Jones said. "I could've retired five years ago and I would've been running from someone. All the men I beat up, will have their stories. All the men I didn't get to beat up, we have their stories. It is what it is. It's an honor to be that guy people talk about. I know a lot of names who's gone ghost over the years."