Jon Jones isn’t willing to step up and save UFC 300, but he might be willing to stick around and face Tom Aspinall.
That was the message the injured UFC heavyweight champion had for fans when he spoke to Submission Radio during a visit to Australia this past week.
“The Tom fight is definitely not off the table,” Jones said. “Especially with how I’ve been feeling being out here. I feel just totally reinvigorated and just re-energized being around all these fans. So, I can’t just walk away. So, the ball is rolling in a really positive direction for me to continue my career.”
Previously, all signs had pointed towards Jones fighting Stipe Miocic and then retiring. That was the plan, according to several of his training partners. But if “Bones” is convinced Aspinall is more than just another contender, he could be convinced to stick around.
“A lot of people don’t acknowledge that: there will always will be another awesome contender,” he said. “It’s the UFC’s job to build the next big thing. And it’s my job to realize when you are enough and you have done enough, you’ve provided for your family, you’ve created the life for your people.”
“And so I don’t know. I really don’t know what’s gonna be next. I’m just taking it one thing at a time. That’s my respect to Stipe, is just to take it one thing at a time, and to respect him as a challenge that he will be. As impressive as Tom is, he’s not important enough yet to determine my schedules and my decisions. That’s fair enough, huh?”
“If I were him, I would get after it, I would get after it,” Jones concluded. “If you truly believe that you’re the best in the world, then get after it. Go out there and compete. And the real fans will count your victories as champions. But don’t let me slow you down. Go out there and kick butt and make your money.”
One thing Jones is steadfast about is his desire to fight Stipe Miocic next. Miocic has the most title defenses at heavyweight and is widely considered the best champion the division has seen. Taking him out is the perfect way for Jones to prove his dominance a weight class up from light heavyweight.
Unfortunately for “Bones,” Miocic has been sitting on the sidelines a long time, and MMA is a very ‘What have you done for me lately?’ kind of sport. A win over Stipe two years ago would have accomplished everything Jones wanted. Now, many argue he has to fight interim champion Tom Aspinall if he wants to walk away without questions about his legacy.