Tom Aspinall sets sights on Jon Jones showdown if he beats Sergei Pavlovich for interim title at UFC 295, as he warns that Russian ‘has never fought someone who moves like me’
- Tom Aspinall is preparing to fight Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295 on Saturday
- British star is targeting a clash with Jon Jones when American returns
- Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk fight details out THIS WEEK: Listen to The Hook
British UFC star Tom Aspinall still has his sights set on Jon Jones despite the American’s injury, as he prepares to fight Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295.
Victory would see him hold the interim title and effectively put himself in line to face the winner of Jones vs Miocic, which may not happen for up to a year.
‘I’m just fine with the interim,’ Aspinall said during UFC 295 media day. ‘I’m not too bothered about it. It will all work itself out, I’m sure. Jon Jones is obviously one of the best to ever do it. I would love to share the octagon with him one day. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. Absolutely love his game. Massive fan of his.
‘As far as if it’s for the interim title or the vacant title, it doesn’t really bother me too much.
‘I’d love to fight Jon Jones,’ Aspinall said. ‘I’ve said that all along. It’s not disrespect to Jon Jones. I couldn’t respect him more for what he’s done in the sport. I’d like to fight Jon Jones after this for sure.’
Tom Aspinall takes on Sergei Pavlovich in UFC 295’s co-main event on Saturday
Jon Jones’ injury ruled him out of the contest with Stipe Miocic and the fight was binned
Aspinall and Pavlovich are the next generation of heavyweights and both possess elite speed and striking.
Pavlovich has won his last six fights by first-round knockouts, making him the most feared man on the UFC roster.
But Aspinall took the fight on two-and-a-half weeks notice and says doing so shows how confident he is in both body and mind.
‘Me pre-injury would have never took a fight like this,’ Aspinall explained. ‘Absolutely never. I think that just says where I’m at mentally. I would have never, ever done this before I injured my knee. Because I was struggling with a bad knee for a long time.
‘I train with heavyweights like everyday. Every single day for 18 months now so I know exactly where my body’s at.
‘Before, I guess I was kind of guessing where my body was at a lot because I wasn’t training with heavyweights regular and now I train with heavyweights everyday.
‘I know I’ve got the size and the strength and all the other stuff, the physical attributes to fight and I know when I’m ready to fight.
‘Obviously, I wouldn’t have took this fight if I didn’t think I was close to being ready. I’m much more confident now moving forward.’
So where can Aspinall find space to exploit Pavlovich’s shortcomings? For the Wigan native, he has to focus on himself given the fact that the Russian has hardly shown a chink in his armour.
Pavlovich is a young, hungry contender and competes with Aspinall for interim gold
Aspinall (right), seen here beating Marcin Tybura, could be the third Brit to win a UFC belt
‘I basically can’t find a weakness [in Sergei Pavlovich],’ Aspinall said. ‘I don’t think anyone can look at his fights and be like ,”this is where he’s good and this is where he’s bad”, because he’s not really shown much bad at this point. I’ve just got to do my thing.
‘The biggest advantage that I’ve got is he’s fought no one who moves anything like me because there’s not a guy in the heavyweight division who moves like me.
‘So you can’t prepare for me. It’s really difficult for my training partners, who train with me everyday, to be able to figure out what I’m doing.
‘Guys who have never experienced anything like my movement, that’s my biggest advantage that I’ve got.’
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