Despite pleas by Tom Aspinall for the UFC to strip Jon Jones of his heavyweight title, Dana White is not planning on doing so.
White, speaking to TNT Sports ahead of Saturday’s UFC 296 event, reiterated that Jones will remain champion and Aspinall the interim titleholder. And there are no plans either to pair the two up.
“No,” White said (thanks to MMA Fighting for the quotes). “And we’re not stripping Jon Jones either. He’s the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. You’re a young guy. You were injured there for a while. You’ll get your shot. Just wait.
“This fight has to happen and then we’ll figure out what’s next for you.”
The fight White referenced is the Jones vs. Stipe Miocic contest that was scratched when “Bones” suffered his injury. Those two were on deck for UFC 295, which went ahead with Aspinall besting Sergei Pavlovich for the interim title from Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Aspinall has gone on the record in stating that he believes the division should move ahead, and that he should be given the Miocic bout.
“Aspinall could possibly fight again, I don’t know,” White said. “We’ll see how this plays out going into the next year, but Jones and Stipe, the fight, they both deserve it. Jon Jones got injured, there’s nothing he can do about it. I don’t know, we’ll see what happens in ’24.
“If Aspinall wants to fight before that fight happens, why not? Why not let him defend (the interim title)?”