Tom Aspinall vs. Jon Jones needs to happen after UFC 304: Here's why the UFC should book the fight if the Englishman beats Curtis Blaydes

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Jon Jones (far right) should fight Tom Aspinall (left) if the Englishman beats Curtis Blaydes (center right) at UFC 304 [Image Courtesy: @ufc via X/Twitter and @ufcontnt via X/Twitter]

The possibility of a Tom Aspinall vs. Jon Jones matchup has captured the attention of the UFC fanbase in a manner that no other heavyweight bout today can. The Englishman is the current interim heavyweight champion, while Jones reigns as the undisputed titleholder.

Despite Aspinall's pursuit of the fight, Jones has been non-committal, though not so much to avoid speaking ill of the interim champ on social media. Jones pokes and brods when he can, but has also claimed that he may very well retire after his expected fight against Stipe Miocic. Meanwhile, the Brit fighter is set to defend his interim heavyweight title against Curtis Blaydes at UFC 304.

Alternatively, 'Bones' has flirted with the idea of facing Alex Pereira if the light heavyweight king moves up to heavyweight for a crack at three-division championship status. That, however, is not the direction that the UFC should go in. Aspinall is the future of heavyweight.


Jon Jones has never faced anyone like Tom Aspinall

Contrary to popular belief and Jon Jones' own rhetoric, the UFC heavyweight champion has never faced 'the next big thing' in any division he's competed in. Ciryl Gane is the closest, but was still fresh off a loss to Francis Ngannou, where his inexperience and grappling deficit was exposed.

To get outwrestled by Ngannou was telling of just how limited Gane's own wrestling skill-set was. Jones, meanwhile, has built his career off of facing overblown middleweights at light heavyweight, and foes who are, in fact, older than him. Tom Aspinall, though, is different.

Aspinall is a hungry, young, well-rounded fighter with the athleticism, size, and skill to challenge Jones. When 'Bones' captured light heavyweight gold, he did so against Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua, who is six years older than him. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson is 10 years his senior, as is Lyoto Machida.

Rashad Evans, his former friend, is eight years older than him, and so small that he eventually dropped down to middleweight. Meanwhile, Vitor Belfort, who also had to drop down to middleweight, is 11 years 'Bones' senior, as is Chael Sonnen, a career middleweight who moved up to 205 pounds for an undeserved title shot.

Alexander Gustafsson is a rare exception, being just a year older. Glover Teixeira was eight years older, Daniel Cormier 9 years older, and Ovince Saint Preux six years older. While Anthony Smith is a year younger than Jones, no one would ever consider a 38-18 ex-middleweight journeyman an elite youngster in the game.

Another former middleweight in Thiago Santos is four years older, while Dominick Reyes is one of the only other few younger fighters, who is two years the heavyweight king's junior. So, despite the online rhetoric, Jones has not been 'beating young prospects' or rising young challengers his entire career.

Aspinall represents a unique opportunity, is massively popular and the only other heavyweight with any real name value besides Gane. While other notable heavyweights like Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa remain, they are subpar fighters more popular for gimmicks than anything else.


Tom Aspinall is the interim champion; Stipe Miocic is coming off a loss

It is the duty of the undisputed champion in any division to unify the belts with the interim champion, in the event that there is one. Thus, logic dictates that Jon Jones face Tom Aspinall to unify the heavyweight belts. However, 'Bones' and the UFC have other plans: Stipe Miocic.

While Miocic is certainly a legendary heavyweight, he should not be in the position he is in. The real purpose behind the bout isn't lost on anyone. It is a winnable fight over a former champion with an exceptional legacy. Miocic will be 41 years old by the time he and Jones fight, and is coming off a brutal knockout loss.

Besides the loss to Francis Ngannou, there is also the factor of cage-rust, as Miocic hasn't fought in three years. In fact, Miocic hasn't fought anyone currently ranked in the heavyweight top 15. Aspinall, meanwhile, has beaten four fighters ranked in the heavyweight top 10.

Moreover, he has become a star in the heavyweight division, and the only fighter that fans are calling on Jones to face, as illustrated by the former 205-pounder's numerous X/Twitter exchanges and tirades. The fan interest is there, as are the reasoning, financial aspect, and competitive element.

Furthermore, a possible win in Aspinall's favor would cement him as the heavyweight torchbearer for years to come, a star that the UFC can rely on instead of aging talent that may retire within a year or two. Additionally, Aspinall is unproblematic, having never generated controversy.

He is also a route to the English market, which, if sincerity is used, Leon Edwards will never truly be due to his decision-friendly fighting style and low-key personality. Aspinall is different. He is a finisher and willing to take on all challengers.

He is assuming the undisputed champion's duty by defending his interim belt before Jones can defend his heavyweight belt. If Aspinall does as is expected of him and beats Curtis Blaydes, especially after 'Bones' dismissal of his chances, the UFC should look to book the Englishman and make him a true star.

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Edited by Tejas Rathi
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