Chael Sonnen Says Aspinall vs. Pavlovich is for the Real UFC Title, Dismisses ‘Geriatric’ Fight Between Jones and Miocic

Sonnen is ready to move on from Jones vs. Miocic and has dubbed UFC 295's interim title fight as being for the true undisputed heavyweight championship

Chael Sonnen
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

For Chael Sonnen, the newly announced interim heavyweight title fight between Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich is to crown the true undisputed champion of the world. 

Two weeks removed from UFC 294’s historic shakeup that saw two high-profile fighters replaced at the last second, the promotion was once again forced to scramble after UFC 295 headliner and reigning heavyweight champion Jon Jones was forced out of his highly anticipated clash with Stipe Miocic after tearing his pectoral muscle while sparring. 

With Jones potentially laid up for a reported eight months, if not longer, the UFC will crown an interim heavyweight titleholder at UFC 295 between top-ten contenders Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich. But according to Sonnen, this bout should be for the undisputed title, particularly if the promotion still plans to reschedule Jones vs. Miocic for some time in 2024. 

“It is an insult to call this the interim title fight,” Sonnen said during an interview with TheMACLife. “This is the undisputed championship fight. This is how the world needs to look at it. What we’re discussing doing right now is taking Stipe and Jon Jones and having them fight, at a minimum, eight months from now.

“You’re going to have Pavlovich vs. Tom for an interim championship. Never in the history of our sport have you had a healthy interim champion and the return of your undisputed champion and have them not fight each other.

“That’s weird. That’s not the way it plays out. You are not going to have an interim champion that’s going to have a whole bunch of steam because he not only represents the present, but he’s going to represent the future.”

Chael Sonnen Has No Interest in Seeing ‘Geriatric’ Title Fight Between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic

According to UFC officials, the promotion intends to move forward with Jones vs. Miocic as an undisputed heavyweight title fight, meaning it will be the first time in UFC history that the undisputed titleholder will not face the interim champion upon their return.

Instead, the winner of Aspinall vs. Pavlovich at UFC 295 will take on the winner of Jones and Miocic in a sort of makeshift tournament to determine a truly undisputed heavyweight champion. But by the time Jones and Miocic are finally ready to step inside the Octagon, will fight fans still care? Chael Sonnen definitely doesn’t think so. 

“Jones vs. Stipe, there’s some nostalgia. There’s some loose ends there,” Sonnen added. “They were both saying it was going to be their last fight. What’s the difference? One of them fought once in two years and the other’s only fought once in three and a half years. What difference does it make?

“If they’re going to go do this fight and you’re going to have a healthy young interim champion, but you’re gonna make believe [Jones vs. Miocic] is for the real belt, come on man. That is silly.”

He continued, “There is nobody that’s going to be clamoring to see those geriatrics at that point and then make believe that it’s for the belt. So if Tom wins the title, we will demand that when Jon returns, he takes on Tom. If he doesn’t want to take on Tom, that’s okay too. We’re just gonna switch belts. You can’t let him have an undisputed belt refusing to fight guys. It doesn’t work that way. It’s never worked that way.”

Aspinall vs. Pavlovich will slide into the co-main event slot at UFC 295 on November 11 while the previously scheduled co-main between Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka for the vacant light heavyweight title will be promoted to the main event at Madison Square Garden. 

Watch the full interview below:

Published on October 25, 2023 at 9:42 pm
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