Well, it seems like Stipe Miocic isn’t quite ready to hang up his gloves. Despite speculation, he might not be stepping away from the ring after his heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones.
A recent interaction on social media suggests otherwise. Tom Aspinall, the current interim king, received a response from the ex-UFC champion that hinted at future plans. Miocic suggested he’d be open to facing Aspinall in a title unification bout.
But, there’s a catch. This potential match-up would only become a reality if Miocic defeats Jones. They’re set to square off at some point in 2024, though the exact date is still up in the air. Jones is currently on the mend from a torn pectoral, an injury that led to his withdrawal from the UFC 295 main event against Miocic.
Miocic addressed Aspinall directly on Twitter. “I have never caused a delay in the Jon fight,” he wrote. “Tom, once I get this win, let’s talk to unify the belt.”
Aspinall hasn’t been quiet about his frustrations with the UFC’s decision to postpone Jones vs. Miocic. He claimed the interim crown with a 69-second knockout of Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295. In most cases, he’d be next in line to face the reigning heavyweight king.
Aspinall even called for Jones to be stripped of the heavyweight crown after “Bones” suffered his injury. He’s also targeted Miocic’s lack of activity in recent years.
“Stipe is one of my [favorites]. Loads of respect to him. His resume is far superior to mine [right now],” Aspinall recently posted on social media. “That being said the UFC has never been about this. It’s about who’s the best right now, and I believe that’s me and it’s only right I get to prove it.”
Aspinall’s argument? If you’re the interim champ, your next fight should be for the undisputed title.
There’s been a long-standing rumor that both Miocic and Jones could retire after what’s been referred to as a legacy fight. However, Miocic’s recent comments suggest he’s not ready to call it quits. Especially if things go his way.
Miocic hasn’t competed since he lost the heavyweight belt to Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 in March 2021. But it seems like the Ohio-based firefighter isn’t quite ready to step out of the ring for good.