Ex-UFC champion criticizes Tom Aspinall’s reaction to interim title win at UFC 295, other fighters chime in 

Ex-UFC champion Henry Cejudo says Tom Aspinall was ‘too emotional’ celebrating his interim title win at UFC 295 earlier this month.

By: Nate Wilcox | 3 weeks ago
Ex-UFC champion criticizes Tom Aspinall’s reaction to interim title win at UFC 295, other fighters chime in 
Tom Aspinall (blue gloves) reacts to beating Sergei Pavlovich (red gloves) during UFC 295 at Madison Square Garden. | Wendell Cruz / USA TODAY Network, IMAGO

Tom Aspinall gets criticized for reaction to title win at UFC 295

A few fighters have come to the defense of Tom Aspinall after he was recently criticized for the way he reacted after his first-round finish of Sergei Pavlovich. Earlier this month, Aspinall accepted a short-notice fight against Pavlovich for the interim UFC heavyweight championship at UFC 295 after Jon Jones was forced to withdraw from a scheduled defense against Stipe Miocic. With little to no training and a pre-existing injury, the 30-year-old sent Pavlovich to the shadow realm inside of two minutes. 

After referee Dan Miragliotta waved off the fight, Aspinall was in tears. 

Most of us shared Aspinall’s joy at his victory. But as always, there was at least one hater out there aching to spoil the party. That hater? None other than former multi-division UFC champ Henry Cejudo.

“Watching Tom Aspinall win the interim world title, he’s already celebrating,” said Cejudo on his official YouTube channel. “I mean, it’s an interim, Tom! Save those tears for when you actually win the real belt. Sometimes, when I see people like that, they just get too emotional after an interim belt. Yeah, you got a trophy, but they might as well dip that thing in either silver or bronze because it’s not the real thing.

“I mean that with all due respect,” continued Cejudo. “As a competitor, I start to think of their mentalities. How is it or what is it that makes them — has he thought that he’s reached the pinnacle of the world? I’m not picking on you, Tom. I’m just saying to you, save those tears for when you actually own the undisputed title.”

Fighters disagree with Henry Cejudo, defend Aspinall

Fortunately for Aspinall fans, Cejudo was the sole dissenter and his party-pooping drew immediate pushback from some notable UFC names. First, fellow former UFC multi-division champ Daniel Cormier.

Daniel Cormier: “Henry Cejudo, man. I like the guy, I do. But this dude has never been more wrong,” said Cormier on his official YouTube channel. “Henry has never been more wrong. I saw something the other day where Henry said Tom Aspinall shouldn’t have been as emotional to become the champion [because] it’s not the real belt as the interim champion. It’s not fair. 

“Why is it not fair? Because Henry Cejudo became the UFC champion because he’s a tremendous athlete and he is just a winner,” continued Cormier. “But Henry Cejudo was not groomed to be UFC champion. Henry Cejudo was groomed to be the Olympic Wrestling champion. He did that. And when he did that, he cried. He was excited, he was the champ, and it felt like  he had accomplished the world. That’s what Tom Aspinall did. Why? Because it’s all he’s been trained to do.”

Then UFC light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith and former middleweight champ Michael Bisping made some time on their Believe You Me podcast to come to Aspinall’s support.

Anthony Smith: “Interim? Who gives a s—t? That is a world title around his waist, so if he wants to cry about it, go f—k yourself if you don’t like it,” said Smith. “That is a life achievement that 99.9 percent of the population walking this planet will never, ever touch. 99.9 percent of fighters won’t even be in a position to contend for one. If he wants to cry, let the man cry. Who cares? That’s a huge accomplishment.”

Michael Bisping: “He still flew out to New York City, Madison Square Garden on two-and-a-half-weeks’ notice with a bad back, with one of the scariest people in all of the sport and finished him in 69 seconds,” said Bisping. “The relief in a situation like that, the pressure you are feeling in a moment like that and then for it to be done and over? Of course, [he cried] because that’s the dream.”

Team Aspinall responds to Cejudo

As for the UFC interim heavyweight champ himself? He’s not much more worried about Cejudo’s comments than he would be if Cejudo wanted to challenge him for the title.

Tom Aspinall: “I don’t watch that little squirt,” said Aspinall during an interview with Michael Bisping. “It doesn’t matter to me mate, what he says, to be honest. He’s about five-foot-three, if he spoke I probably wouldn’t hear him. He’s that far away from me, so it doesn’t matter.”

Andy Aspinall: “Why would anybody say something like that apart from getting themselves noticed? Everybody wants to be popular. Funny world.”

Aspinall is also lobbying to have current UFC heavyweight champ Jon Jones stripped of the title. As he told Michael Bisping:

“I think Jon Jones should be stripped from the title, to be honest, because everyone else does when they get injured like that,” Aspinall told Michael Bisping.

“I don’t see why he’s still got it, I don’t understand that. I should be the real champion right now.”

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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