Jon Jones can’t ‘hold a candle’ to Tom Aspinall? – Champ delivers reality check to pundits

Is Tom Aspinall the next big thing at heavyweight? Jon Jones would like a word.

By: Zane Simon | 2 months ago

Tom Aspinall looked absolutely fantastic on Saturday night. Coming back from a year off of surgery and rehab on his injured knee, the top heavyweight prospect absolutely demolished solid gatekeeper to the elite Marcin Tybura in the main event of UFC London.

Once one of the most heavily hyped newcomers inside the world’s largest MMA promotion, fans were given a stark reminder as to why, with the 30-year-old needing just over a minute to breeze by his Polish foe. And with the return to form came a return to outsized expectations.

Unsurprisingly, leading the Aspinall cheer squad is former UFC middleweight champion Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping.

Jon Jones at the 2023 ESPYs.
Jon Jones at the 2023 ESPYs. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Michael Bisping claims Aspinall will breeze by Jon Jones

Never a man to restrain himself from hyperbole, Bisping had a glowing review of the Team Kaobon talent in a recent interview with Sky Sports. Not only does he feel that Aspinall looks every bit the part of an elite heavyweight, he’s even calling his shot, that the 6′ 5″ Manchester-based fighter is on his way to UFC gold.

“Tom Aspinall was utterly fantastic,” Bisping said of Aspinall’s win (transcript via MMA Junkie). “That’s one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from a heavyweight. Marcin Tybura, the guy that he beat, is no walk in the park.  He’s won seven of his last eight against world class opposition, and Tom just blew threw him like he was nothing.

“And I do 100 percent believe that he will be the champion. In fact, I know he will be the champion barring any freak injury or something terrible or bad luck happens. He will be the champion of the world.”

In fact, Bisping is so sure of his prediction, he even turned it up a notch, claiming that Aspinall would absolutely blow by current champion Jon Jones, with every bit as much speed and violence as he showed against Tybura. A hell of a proclamation considering one man has struggled regularly with top tier athletes and the other is someone many believe to be literally the best fighter in MMA history.

“Jon Jones is the heavyweight champion. He’s an incredible fighter. He’s incredible. He’s one of the greatest of all time. I don’t think he can hold a candle to Tom. I think Tom will do the same thing to Jon Jones as what he did to Marcin Tybura,” Bisping added in the face of all evidence. “I don’t think there’s anyone that can stop Tom Aspinall. He’s that good.”

Jon Jones responds to the hype

Whether it was Bisping’s outlandish grandstanding, or just the general buzz in the air after Aspinall’s latest victory, there’s at least on man who—unsurprisingly—felt the need to get a word in edgewise as to Aspinall’s potential title hopes.

Jon Jones fired off a series of tweets in the days following Aspinall’s win, just to remind everyone how well his legacy has stood the test of time, and how many other ‘next big thing’ prospects he’s seen come and go. And then, in true Jon Jones fashion, he deleted them all.

“Sometimes I feel like I’ve been in a déjà vu, everyone’s going to be the guy to kick my ass,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “Meanwhile, I’m over here undefeated with a face full of gray hairs.

“Half the time the guys talking the most crap don’t even end up winning their next fight. I’ve been around this game for a long time. Over the years, I’ve learned not to get all impress so quickly. Stick around, win consistently like I have. And then talk your shit.

“Everyone’s the next big thing until I beat them. And then it’s like well. Who was that guy anyway? Just a few months ago Gane was the absolute future of MMA. Best foot work, fastest heavy weight we have ever seen. The most athletic. Now everyone’s like who the hell is that guy.”

Setting aside Jones’ single technical loss to Matt Hamill (for which the UFC still have yet to file that appeal they claim they’re working on), the man has a point. He cleaned out the light heavyweight division both of former champions and of current contenders during his long reign atop the division. And while heavyweight is a brand new division with all new challenges, he had no trouble mopping the floor with Gane in his debut.

Aspinall definitely looks like a great top contender, but the gulf between Tybura and Jones is so wide it can’t accurately be measured by science alone. He hasn’t even fought one of the divison’s top contenders, let alone someone who has contended for the title.

The bigger question should really be, how much longer will Jones stick around to fight anyone, regardless of the legitimacy of their skill.

Jon Jones is thinking retirement

Back in May, before his upcoming fight with Miocic was finalized, Jones gave some of his thoughts about his future as a reigning champion. It was a solid insight into his potential willingness to face fresh future contenders who may not have the name value to guarantee him a top-drawing PPV event, but might still possess all the danger to break his grip on the belt. To put it succinctly, it sounds a lot more like Jones would rather ride off into the sunset on top than play king to a new class of fighters.

“I think the Stipe fight will be plenty for me,” Jones told Fox Sports Australia, adding that fight with Francis Ngannou might be enough to keep him around. “I feel like I don’t have too much to prove after beating Stipe Miocic. I’ve been in the game for a long time. In fighter years, I’m an old guy. I’ve been training a long time and been in the game a long time. Got some small injuries.

“I just really want to be around. I want to be around for my family, be around for my kids. I want to be able to play with my kids, have a good head on my shoulders. … I could see it coming to an end really soon and I’m happy with that. I’m really proud of my career.”

It just may be that if (or when) Tom Aspinall is ready to contend for the UFC heavyweight title, the man across from him won’t be the sitting champ, but another top contender vying for a vacated belt.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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