A lot of MMA observers think former UFC heavyweight Stipe Miocic should step aside to decide the best in the big-man division. That includes interim champ Tom Aspinall, who’s publicly campaigned to unify the belt against undisputed champ Jon Jones.
On Friday, Miocic responded to a series of tweets from Aspinall arguing the title unifier should be next on the UFC’s schedule, and for all the reasonable points the U.K. titleholder raised, the American also had a reasonable one.
“I have never caused a delay in the Jon fight,” Miocic wrote on Friday.
I have never caused a delay in the Jon fight.⁰⁰Tom, once I get this win, let’s talk to unify the belt.
— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) January 5, 2024
In his pitch to fight Jones, Aspinall cited Miocic’s inactivity by way of the release of Grand Theft Auto 2.
Last time Stipe fought and won, GTA: San Andreas had just come out on PS2. He will fight next for the undisputed heavyweight title, ahead of me, who’s the interim champ, active and ranked #1 in the world right now. This makes me quite upset
— Tom Aspinall (@AspinallMMA) January 4, 2024
Miocic was scheduled to fight Jones this past November at UFC 295. But prior to the event, Jones suffered a torn pectoral in training, and the UFC elected to make an interim title fight on short notice between Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich. Aspinall won the interim belt with a first-round knockout and soon after called to unify the belt.
But rather than pass over Miocic, UFC CEO Dana White promised to reschedule Miocic vs. Jones when “Bones” was healthy enough to fight. That put Apsinall in the lurch for potentially most of 2024.
This week, Aspinall took to social media to plead his case.
In a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Aspinall urged the UFC to let him move forward with his career.
“I think that Stipe and Jones is an absolutely amazing match up,” he said. “But in my opinion, that was an amazing matchup for this past weekend, and I feel like the shine of that fight has kind of gone. I don’t know how anybody else feels about that, but I feel like now, they need to make either me and John Jones, or me and Stipe, because what’s kind of the point in the other stuff? Let’s move forward, let me fight one of the legends now, and let me move forward with my career, as opposed to doing this other stuff and wait around.
“[Jones vs. Miocic] was amazing. That’s an amazing match up. But I don’t want to see that, and I don’t think anyone else wants to see that in a year’s time. Let’s move on from that now, and let me fight one of the legends and beat the legends.”
Miocic’s most recent UFC appearance was in March 2021, when he lost the heavyweight title to then-champ Francis Ngannou. It was widely reported that his bout with Jones at UFC 295 was likely to serve as his retirement bout, though he repeatedly said he wasn’t decided on the matter.
Miocic proposed a showdown with Aspinall assuming a win over Jones when they eventually met.
“Tom, once I get this win, let’s talk to unify the belt,” he wrote.