Despite fighting for the interim heavyweight title instead of the division’s main title, Sergei Pavlovich is treating his next bout against Tom Aspinall the real deal. In his recent statement, the Russian expressed enthusiasm in taking the fight, saying it is the tile.
It can be recalled that UFC Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones was supposed to face former champion Stipe Miocic for his first heavyweight title defense on November 11 in New York’s Madison Square Garden. However, as announced by UFC CEO Dana White in October, Jones suffered a torn pectoral muscle, with the championship fight postponed to a later date. This resulted in an interim heavyweight championship between Pavlovich and Aspinall this coming Saturday.
Despite fighting for a title with an “interim” tag, nonetheless, Pavlovich sees this as an actual huge fight.
“I wasn’t disappointed about the fact that it’s an interim as opposed to an actual one,” Pavlovich told ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto in an interview. “The saying that we have is, ‘You’re only as strong as your road, and you make your road strong yourself,'” Pavlovich said. “This is not an interim for me, or whatever. This is the title. I’m fighting for the title on Saturday.”
Though not directly expressing the same thought, Aspinall is seemingly excited about the fight, which could soon lead him to a fight against Jones. During the UFC’s post-fight press conference for the Aspinall-Tybura fight, Aspinall expressed interest and excitement over the idea of fighting Jones, calling it “incredible” and his “absolute dream.”
“It’s a dream fight of mine,” Aspinall explained. “I’m big, I can do everything well, I’m fast, I’m strong, I’m heavy — which isn’t like a lot of his opponents or he’s fought in the past. And I just think I bring something different to him, and I think he knows that as well…”