Ben Askren Tells Jon Jones – ‘You Can’t Leave Tom Aspinall Sitting Here’

May 13, 2024
2 weeks
Ben Askren Tells Jon Jones

Ben Askren has hit out at Jon Jones after the UFC Heavyweight Champion hinted at a fight with Alex Pereira over Tom Aspinall

Jones has not been in the Octagon since beating Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 last year. He pulled out of his UFC 295 title defence against Stipe Miocic after suffering an injury to his pectoral muscle in sparring. Aspinall demanded that the UFC strip Jones, as the injury was holding up the divison. The Brit wanted to fight Miocic himself, with the winner then fighting Jones.

Dana White said no, as Aspnall was added to the UFC 295 card instead. He stopped Sergei Pavlovich in the first round for the interim belt. That puts him with a title shot. However, Jones’ comments suggest he is looking elsewhere. He was more focused on facing Pereira, saying he was the bigger name. The Brazilian is coming off a first-round KO win over Jamahal Hill at UFC 300 to retain his UFC Light Heavyweight Title. While Pereira is open to making history by becoming a three-division champion, Askren questioned by the Brazilian should get a shot over the interim champion. 

Askren On Jones

“We saw Pereira get taken down by [Israel] Adesanya and he was kept down for, actually, a significant portion of time. And it is kind of wild that we have this guy Pereira, and there’s no doubt he’s making his mark as, possibly, one of the best ever if he keeps winning, yet [there] are questions about his wrestling. Like, how would he do against good wrestling?

“And we don’t know because somehow Jamahal Hill didn’t try a takedown, [Jiri] Prochazka didn’t try a takedown, [Jan] Blachowicz actually did take him down and keep him down for a round, Strickland didn’t try a takedown. … Like, these guys, they don’t try takedowns. We want to see Jon Jones fight Tom Aspinall. Aspinall’s got the interim belt, Jon’s got the [other] belt. It just doesn’t make any sense. Just freaking make them fight, and then if Jon beats him, then Pereira vs. Jon. You can’t leave Tom Aspinall sitting here with the interim belt,” Askren said

Aspinall Reacts

There are reports that the winner of Jones-Miocic could retire. Jones is 36 and has not been very active. He has fought only once since 2020. He is also more injury-prone, which is impacting his activity. A loss to Aspinall would damage his resume, and there are questions over whether he should take a risky fight at this stage. However, Jones may simply be doing this to build up the fight. He will want the biggest paydays at the end of his career. Unlike the Francis Ngannou fight, which fans never got to see, Jones-Aspinall cannot get away. And yet, Aspinall had doubts about whether it would happen. 

“If we can get old Jon to ever sign a contract with my name on the other side of the contract, I’ll talk about him for hours on this show. But right now, the guy’s playing games again. Trying to convince the public of what he wants, and what he doesn’t want. Which he does really well. As I said, we can chat about Jon if he, if and when, he ever signs a contract with my name on the other side of it. Right now, let’s be honest, it’s not looking very likely,” Aspinall stated 

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