Daniel Cormier is calling for a change at the summit of the UFC heavyweight division.
With reigning champion Jon Jones on the shelf a while owing to a pectoral injury he sustained two weeks out from a planned title defence against Stipe Miocic last month, Cormier, himself a former holder of the title, has said that it is unfair on Tom Aspinall to only have claim to an interim version of the strap.
Aspinall defeated Sergei Pavlovich in just 69 seconds, a fight he took on little more than 14 days’ notice, in Madison Square Garden in the hastily-arranged replacement fight to claim a version of the heavyweight title — but as far as Cormier is concerned, the Englishman deserves the real thing.
“If Jones and Stipe are only going to fight each other, you cannot have Tom Aspinall defend the interim championship,” Cormier told Ariel Helwani on a recent episode of The MMA Hour. “Jones and Stipe don’t need the title to be on the line. They can just fight, and that’s enough. Call it for ‘The Greatest of All Time.’ It doesn’t matter. Create a belt.”
Cormier added: “Tom Aspinall is the guy who’s going to lead the heavyweight division for years to come. So yes, I believe that he should be the undisputed champ. Jones is the undisputed champion — he earned it in the octagon by beating Ciryl Gane. But if he’s only going to fight Stipe, and that’s not for another seven months? You put Tom Aspinall as the champ, and I don’t think anybody would bat an eyelid.”
Aspinall, for that matter, agrees. Speaking to Michael Bisping recently, he said that “I think Jon Jones should be stripped from the title to be honest, because everyone else does when they get injured like that.”
“It’s hard to say without sounding rude, but who’s asked about Jon Jones and Stipe anymore? Why do we get this legacy fight, and they get to live by their own rules? What’s a legacy fight, a retirement fight for a title? I want to fight Stipe and then I want to fight Jon Jones. … I think all this other stuff is rubbish. Stop protecting him now. Stop protecting your boy Jon Jones at the top. If he’s injured, get out of the way and I’ll fight Stipe.”