Jon Jones has his next target in mind, but then what?
At UFC 285 this past March 2023, Jones returned after three years away and further cemented himself as an all-time great in mixed martial arts (MMA). “Bones” contested for the newly-vacated UFC Heavyweight title at the event when battling Ciryl Gane. Needing little more than two minutes, Jones claimed the title with a guillotine submission against the cage wall (watch highlights).
Before the fight, Jones noted how fans will at least get two more fights out of the 35-year-old legend, adding that those would ideally be against Gane and the former two-time titlist, Stipe Miocic. While the Miocic clash appears to be what’s next on the table for Jones, other rising contenders like Sergei Pavlovich and Tom Aspinall hope to get their hands on the arguable G.O.A.T.
The latter, however, doesn’t foresee the champion sticking around as already hinted at.
“I’ve been saying this for ages,” Aspinall told Michael Bisping (h/t MMA Junkie). “I was like, ‘Look, he’s going to go up there, he’ll have one fight, fight Stipe, and then retire.’ Everyone says, ‘He signed an eight-fight deal or whatever, a six-fight deal, and he’s put all this weight on.’ I’m like, there’s no chance.
“The guy doesn’t have to be fighting someone like me or someone like Pavlovich or someone like that,” he continued. “He’s not gonna want to take on young contenders anymore. And fair play to him. I don’t blame him. He doesn’t have to. He doesn’t have anything to prove to anybody. The guy’s done everything. I always thought from the beginning, maybe he’ll come up, have one or two fights, and then leave it at that. I’m sure that’s what he’s gonna do.”
The 30-year-old Aspinall’s next fight will be highly anticipated as it follows an impossibly unlucky 15-second technical knockout loss to Curtis Blaydes (watch highlights). The rising British star suffered a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) and meniscus and damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against Blaydes, which required surgery.