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.”
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.”
Thank you for reading this article. Please consider subscribing to the Bloody Elbow Substack to enjoy our daily premium content. Your paid subscriptions are helping build our new site and keeping hope alive that our staff will remain intact. If you haven’t already, please pledge with a paid subscription today.
Join the new Bloody Elbow
Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Connor Reubusch. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.
About the author