Sergei Pavlovich and Tom Aspinall have been on a crash course to fight each other as they’ve continued to ascend the ranks of their division. Neither man was expected to be fighting in New York City next weekend but unfortunately, disaster struck when the current undisputed champion Jon Jones suffered a torn pectoral muscle in training last week.
The heavyweight finishers will now collide with an interim title on the line as Jones’ recovery is expected to take around eight months. Even when he does return, the promotion still intends on making Jones’ initially scheduled fight with Stipe Miocic upon his return. The former flyweight and bantamweight champion Cejudo just doesn’t see the point, with all things considered.
“These are two guys that are up-and-coming, that are in their prime, that can potentially challenge a guy like Jones or Stipe, the winner of that,” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “It is exciting, but is it worth an interim heavyweight championship of the world? No, it isn’t.
“I think we’re starting to dilute a little bit of what it is to actually be a UFC champion. I think this is more of a No. 1 contender spot, and I think that’s what you call it. I think maybe the UFC, if they’re going to do that, then start creating new belts or make the interim belt silver for that matter.”
Pavlovich has been on an absolute tear since suffering his lone career defeat to Alistair Overeem in his UFC debut in November 2018. The Russian knockout artist has been nothing but devastation in the octagon on his six-fight winning streak, putting away all of his opponents in round one.
Aspinall, on the other, has been mostly flawless in the UFC as well but saw his five-fight streak (eight overall) ended by a freak injury against Curtis Blaydes in July 2022. The Brit tore his ACL in just 15 seconds, sidelining him until July of this year when he made quick work of Polish veteran Marcin Tybura in 73 seconds via strikes.
While Aspinall looked great in his return, Cejudo still likes Pavlovich in the matchup.
“I’m going for the Russian,” Cejudo said. “I think Sergei is a lot more agile. I think he brings a lot more power. I think Tom is good, I think Tom’s footwork could be a little problematic, but there’s something about Russians that they just come from a great school of technique, of the school of combat. For that reason, I got to go with Sergei. There’s a lot of hype with him. He’s got knockout power. … For that reason at heavyweight, you got to go with power.”
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This bitch talking about boxing, defend that belt mcgregor wannabe
— C H T O V E R A (@chitoveraUFC) November 2, 2023
— 榊 原信行 Nobuyuki Sakakibara (@nobu_sakakibara) November 2, 2023
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I mean, interims are often stupid but fairly logical in this case. Cejudo’s reasoning as to why is just off. Not sure where he’s really been regarding this type of thing either…
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Will the winner of the Sergei Pavlovich vs. Tom Aspinall end up defending the interim UFC heavyweight title?
This story originally appeared on MMA fighting