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Jones: UFC crowning Aspinall interim champ made his fans 'entitled'

Chris Unger / UFC / Getty

Though Jon Jones doesn't outright disagree with the UFC's decision to create an interim title in his absence, he wonders whether it did more harm than good.

The UFC heavyweight champion said Thursday on X he believes the promotion booking an interim title fight between Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295 last November - and Aspinall winning via first-round knockout - set some irrational expectations within the Englishman's fan base.

Jones was originally scheduled to headline that event against Stipe Miocic but withdrew after suffering a torn pectoral muscle.

"(The) UFC is a brilliant company, did what they had to do to save (UFC 295)," Jones wrote. "But ... it definitely confused a bunch of UK fans, got them entitled thinking their boy really is the champion. It reminds me of when (Daniel Cormier) was the 'champion' (in the light heavyweight division) during my absence."

Aspinall campaigned for a title-unification bout against Jones after beating Pavlovich, but UFC CEO Dana White made it clear he planned to reschedule Jones-Miocic when Jones was healthy. Jones has remained steadfast in making his first heavyweight title defense against Miocic, who's considered the greatest heavyweight in UFC history but hasn't stepped into the Octagon since March 2021.

Aspinall is expected to defend the interim title while waiting for Jones and Miocic, likely at UFC 304 on July 27 on home soil in Manchester, England.

Jones has received pushback from fans on social media about his desire to face Miocic in what could be the final fight of his MMA career, with some suggesting the 36-year-old is ducking Aspinall. But Jones added Thursday he brought up the possibility of retirement before Aspinall claimed the interim belt and that his stance would be no different had Pavlovich won.

"I love how the UK have convinced themselves I'm afraid of their (interim) champion," Jones wrote. "Opens me up to a whole new fan base. They all know who the actual champion is."

The UFC has yet to set a date for Jones-Miocic, though Miocic recently said he expects to challenge for the title at the promotion's annual Madison Square Garden event in November.

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