Tom Aspinall on Jon Jones: ‘Absolutely I fear him, but that fuels me’

When UFC heavyweight champions Jon Jones andTom Aspinall crossed paths earlier this month, chances are one of them was scared in the moment.

It was probably Aspinall.

Aspinall, owner of an interim UFC heavyweight title belt, has made no bones about his desire to face Jones in a title unifier ever since he put the champ’s reign in dispute by claiming gold with a knockout of Sergei Pavlovich last November at UFC 295. And now, just a couple of weeks after his brief encounter with Jones at a sporting convention in Birmingham, England, Aspinall has no qualms admitting that he fears the man many consider the greatest UFC fighter of all time – but’s certain that’s not a bad thing.

“Do I fear him? Absolutely,” Aspinall said of Jones on his YouTube channel. “I fear all of my opponents. Like, these guys are the best in the world, the absolute best in the world. Absolutely I fear him, but that fuels me. I want to prove that I’m the best in the world.”

Unfortunately, that possibility continues to look grim as Jones remains intent on fighting former champ Stipe Miocic upon his return from a pectoral injury that scrapped the original UFC 295 main event.

“I’m obviously confident that I could beat Jon Jones because I want to fight him,” Aspinall said. “I’m not making it a secret that I want to fight him, but I’ve done everything that I can until this point. … I want to fight Jon Jones, but he doesn’t, so there’s not a lot I can do about that.”

As far as what’s next for Aspinall, UFC CEO Dana White recently told TNT Sports that a pay-per-view is in the works for England, with Manchester expected to host it in late July. That figures to be when Aspinall, who said he’s “in talks” with the UFC, makes his return to the cage, although it’s unclear against whom or if he would defend his interim title.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie