UFC 304 Main Card Revealed With Two Title Fights, Tom Aspinall Reacts To Interim Title Defense

Aspinall talks Jon Jones and facing Curtis Blaydes: "Last thing I wanna do is hold up a division..."

Ufc 304
(via @ufc - Instagram)

Two title fights top the UFC’s return to Manchester, England.

The Headliners

On Thursday, UFC CEO Dana White would reveal the contents of the UFC 304 main card which is set to take place on July 27th at 3AM for the fans in attendance at the new Co-op Live arena. White has booked fights that are worth staying up that late for as England’s own heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall defends his interim title against Curtis Blaydes, the only blemish on his perfect UFC record. More on that later in the article.

In the main event, Belal Muhammad will get his much-warranted title shot against the welterweight champion of the world by way of Birmingham, Leon Edwards. Like the co-headliner, this title fight is also a rematch with their first encounter ending in a no-contest result after an eye poke from Edwards in 2021. The welterweights meet again, three years later.

Check out Muhammad’s reaction to the news below: 

“Alhamdillah Thought this day would never come,” Muhammad said regarding the booking. “Gods timing is the best timing… Main event Muhammad.”

The Rest Of The Main Card

Further down the main card, Bobby Green gets his wish against Liverpool’s golden boy Paddy Pimblett. “King” has been calling out Pimblett for quite some time now and the UFC finally gives him the opportunity after he bloodied the promotion’s all-time leader in wins Jim Miller at UFC 300. Pimblett has yet to beaten in the Octagon and improved to 5-0 with a decision win over former interim champ Tony Ferguson at UFC 296.

Arnold Allen fights to the sound of his home crowd once more as the top featherweight contender draws the #9-ranked Giga Chikadze. “Almighty” Allen looks to bounce back from a two-fight skid to Max Holloway and Movsar Evloev while Chikadze tries to make it two wins in a row after beating Alex Caceres last August.

A potential flyweight title eliminator kicks off the main card with 23 year-old Muhammad Mokaev taking on Manel Kape. With the division as shallow as it is, a win here could boost either man towards title contention against the active champion Alexandre Pantoja.

Aspinall On Getting The Blaydes Rematch, The Jon Jones Situation

The UFC 304 fight that really jumps off the page is Tom Aspinall vs. Curtis Blaydes II, a rare instance in where we see the interim title defended. Aspinall takes it upon himself to keep the division moving as we await heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ return against Stipe Miocic, a title fight that has been criticized by many, seeing as though ex-champ Miocic has not fought in 3 years and is coming off a loss to Francis Ngannou.

Aspinall attempts to avenge his one and only UFC loss to perennial contender Blaydes, which was more of a freak accident than a definitive result as to who the better fighter was. Their first fight at UFC London in 2022 ended in 15 seconds as Aspinall suffered a knee injury with Blaydes being awarded the TKO victory.

The interim titleholder gives his initial thoughts on the rematch as well it taking place on home turf in Manchester, England.

“The fight’s finally been announced. Very, very happy about it,” Aspinall said on his YouTube channel. “Of course, got a fight in the pipeline. I am an MMA fighter, love fighting. Last thing I wanna do is hold up a division. I see the comments, people out there saying, I’m holding the division up. That’s not me. That’s someone else at the top [Jon Jones]. It’s not me. I am here to fight people. Love this stuff. This is what I’m born to do. This is what I wanted to do.

“A little bit of a strange conundrum with my division. Usually when the champ is coming back, the interim would obviously usually fight the champ. Jon Jones is holding shit up. Let’s be honest. He’s playing games. So me and Curtis Blaydes [will fight]. We have history, we fought before. Granted it was 15 seconds… I got injured. Curtis takes the win, but now it’s time to get a bit of payback. So very, very, very motivated for this one. If I’m not gonna fight Jon, which obviously that’s not gonna happen right now. This is the ideal situation. So very, very happy, very motivated for it.”

Was Ciryl Gane On The Table?

Aspinall says there were rumblings of him fighting former interim champion and #2 contender Ciryl Gane, but ultimately the July date didn’t end up working for the Frenchman.

“There’s only one more available guy, and that’s Ciryl Gane. The UFC wanted me to fight Ciryl Gane. I said, okay, the UFC wanna do it, we can do it. I’m not bothered. I feel like I’m the champion of the world. I’m ranked number one in the world. I’ll fight anybody. You don’t have to talk me into anything. UFC are my bosses, they want me to fight Ciryl Gane, count me in. That’s okay. We’ll do it, sir. On the other hand, he’s out there doing a film. Ciryl is trying to be the French Arnold Schwarzenegger right now, and fair play to him.

“If he wants to do films to be an actor, go in and enjoy yourself, sir. Go and do your thing, make some money, do whatever you do it. But, he didn’t take a fight. He wanted to do his film. So Curtis Blaydes, he’s thrown in. Very happy with it. I’m happy to fight anybody. I’ll say it a million times. There’s a lot of fighters out there. They do a bit of fighting, they do a bit of other stuff. They do a bit of this, a bit of that, a bit of celebrity, bit of red carpet stuff. No, [for me] it’s fight people. It’s not that difficult. Like this is what I’m here to do.”

Catch UFC 304 on July 27th, live on pay-per-view.

Published on May 16, 2024 at 4:13 pm
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