Jon Jones says he turned down UFC 300 headliner, future fight against Tom Aspinall ‘not off the table’
The reigning UFC heavyweight champion addressed his future during a tour across Australia and New Zealand as he continues to heal up from a torn pectoral muscle that prevented him from competing as scheduled this past November. Rumors have swirled for months that Jones may call it a career after he gets the legacy fight he wants with Miocic, which would prevent interim champion Tom Aspinall from receiving an opportunity to unify the titles.
However, Jones said he hasn’t made any decisions yet and it’s entirely possible that Aspinall eventually gets his wish.
“I’m really going to base whether I continue on how I compete against Stipe, how I heal up from this injury,” Jones told Submission Radio. “I could blow Stipe out of the water or it could be an absolute war. And I feel like I need to take one step at a time before seeing what I do next.
“But the Tom fight is definitely not off the table. Especially with how I’ve been feeling being out here. I feel just totally reinvigorated and just re-energized just 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.”
Part of the reason Jones has been so adamant about facing Miocic is because of the remarkable amount of accolades both have achieved during their respective careers. Jones has a laundry list of accomplishments on his résumé, including the most title defenses in the history of the UFC light heavyweight division.
Miocic holds that same achievement at heavyweight, which helps solidify a claim that he may be the greatest heavyweight to ever compete in the UFC.
“Stipe and I have both been in the sport for a long time,” Jones said. “I don’t think Stipe is getting the respect that he deserves. Me and Stipe have unfinished business, and I think it’s the only fair thing to do. I’m excited for Tom and his future.”
Jones also acknowledged that just facing the next guy in line isn’t all that intriguing to him at this stage in his career, so that weighs heavily on him when considering whether or not he’ll continue fighting.
“A lot of people don’t acknowledge that, that there will always will be another awesome contender,” Jones 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.
“So I don’t know. I really don’t know what’s going to 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 far as Aspinall goes, Jones doesn’t really have any problem with him, but he isn’t interested in engaging in a huge back-and-forth war of words over social media. After multiple callouts from the UFC interim champion, Jones eventually ended the conversation by telling Aspinall that he just hasn’t done enough yet to warrant his attention.
“As impressive as Tom is, he’s not important enough yet to determine my schedules and my decisions,” Jones said. “That’s fair enough, huh?”
Jones hopes that Aspinall continues to rack up his own accolades and build a résumé that eventually puts him in that upper tier of all-time heavyweights. For now, Jones says Aspinall should stay focused on that rather than on a fight that’s not going to happen right now.
“If I were him, I would get after it, I would get after it,” Jones said. “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.”
Jones didn’t set a timeline on when the fight with Miocic would be booked, but he revealed that he was approached about potentially headlining UFC 300 in April.
Unfortunately, Jones says he just wouldn’t feel confident that his body would be ready in time as he recovers from the torn pectoral muscle that scrapped his last booking against Miocic.
“I got a call from [UFC Chief Business Officer] Hunter Campbell, one of the head lawyers of the UFC, he said, ‘Jon, I know it’s only nine weeks away, but if there’s any chance you’re feeling up to it, it would be awesome news for the community that you’re coming back and headlining one of the biggest events ever,’” Jones said. “And, as honored as I am for the opportunity, I just don’t think I’ll be ready. I just don’t.
“So, I’m getting up there in age and I only have a few more events left, and I want to give those events my all and make sure that I come back 100 percent.”