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Tom Aspinall calls for Stipe Miocic fight to set up UFC heavyweight title showdown with Jon Jones

Tom Aspinall is targeting UFC heavyweight rival Stipe Miocic as his next opponent with the winner potentially setting up a massive title showdown against Jon Jones in 2024; "Jones is out for the foreseeable, probably the next year, so in the meantime, I should fight Stipe"

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UFC interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall insists he's ready to fight Jon Jones or Stipe Miocic after the Englishman's recent title victory over Sergei Pavlovich

Tom Aspinall has singled out Stipe Miocic as his next UFC heavyweight opponent, with the winner earning a potential showdown against Jon Jones in 2024.

The 32-year-old rocked Madison Square Garden last Saturday by knocking out Russian juggernaut Sergei Pavlovich 69 seconds into the first round to claim the UFC interim title.

As recently as this Tuesday, the Englishman called for Jon Jones, the division's current champion, in a battle to decide the UFC heavyweight No 1.

But with the former two-time light heavyweight champion nursing a torn pectoral tendon that will likely keep him out of the Octagon for a substantial period of time, Aspinall has a new name at the top of his shortlist: Stipe Miocic.

Tom Aspinall has Jon Jones in his sight...
Image: Tom Aspinall has Jon Jones in his sights...

Aspinall told Sky Sports: "Jones is out for the foreseeable, probably for the next year, so in the meantime, I should fight Stipe. Stipe was going to fight Jones, Jones pulled out, so me and Stipe are next I reckon."

It remains to be seen whether the bout will be sanctioned, with UFC CEO Dana White suggesting that the Jones and Miocic match-up will proceed before any of Aspinall's wishes are answered.

"That's the fight they want, that's the fight that makes sense, that's the fight that should happen," White previously said.

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"We'll see what happens. [Aspinall] took this fight on short notice, obviously he looked great. He's got plenty of money to chill out for a minute, and we'll see."

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Paddy Pimblett reflects on Tom Aspinall's devastating victory over Sergei Pavlovich, which saw the Englishman crowned the Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion

Aspinall has spoken openly of his journey back from a torn knee ligament, sustained 15 seconds into a bout with Curtis Blaydes last summer, to securing a career-best win last weekend in New York.

In the immediate aftermath of the win over Pavlovich, the Brit collapsed onto the canvas in tears. He revealed the overarching emotion behind his reaction was relief.

"I just achieved my overall life dream there, and I was nervous," he admitted.

"I took the most brutal fight in the division in the worst circumstances possible. I knew that the odds were against me, big time.

"So, if I would have lost that one, it would have been tough to come back from. I took a gigantic risk that people just aren't taking.

"I don't think many fans realise everybody's avoiding Pavlovich - even champions," he added.

"For me, to take it in such bad circumstances was pretty scary. And when you overcome that, it brings on a lot of relief".

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Tom Aspinall said he was scared before his fight with Sergei Pavlovich and says he wants to face Jon Jones next

The focus now shifts to who Aspinall will square up against next - Miocic or a thrilling clash with Jones. Aspinall may favour a shot with the latter, but he would relish a fight with either rival.

"More people are interested in me versus Jones than Miocic, who's 42," added Aspinall.

"You have to go on interest and relevance, and I'm more interesting and relevant right now than guys like that," he smiled.

"But I understand it's a respect thing. You're talking about the best heavyweight fight of all time against arguably the best MMA fighter ever. I completely get that.

"I'm one of the best finishers in the UFC right now - I can finish anybody on this planet, including Jones".

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Tyson Fury sent a message to 'brother' Tom Aspinall after he became the new UFC interim heavyweight champion

Aspinall has been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since he was eight when his father, Andy, walked away from a lucrative job to help harness his son's athletic ability, and he now plans to dominate the top division.

"I'm a lot more dangerous, and I have the tools that my different coaches have helped me work on throughout the years," Aspinall stated.

"I got to use my God-given athletic ability, size, and everything to do what I did to Pavlovich. I exploded on him and took him out because I can do that to anybody.

"I believe in my power and precision so much that I just need one shot. It's proven that if I hit somebody, they stay hit; they don't start recovering.

"I'm the world champion now, but I want to defend it. I want to go down as one of the greatest heavyweights ever. That's my plan".

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