Home Sports Why is Jon Jones trying to tweet at Tom Aspinall? Here’s a theory…

Why is Jon Jones trying to tweet at Tom Aspinall? Here’s a theory…

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LAS VEGAS, NV – March 5: Jon Jones at T-Mobile Arena for UFC 285 -Jones vs Gane: event on March 5, 2023 in Las Vegas, NV, United States. (Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jon Jones is solely focused on facing Stipe Miocic next. (Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

You may have noticed, but UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been trying to tweet this week. By this I mean some challenges in the area of ​​public opinion. And by that I mean he’s been trying to convince people that refusing to fight interim champion Tom Aspinall is the best and noblest thing he could do, actually.

Writing in X on Thursday, Jones said he was facing “a pretty clear decision” as he returns to training camp after recovering from a pectoral injury. The first option is to “follow the exact and original plans” and next fight former champion Stipe Miocic. The other is “completely ignore all the Stipe training I’ve done and fight another potential hype train that may not even exist in three years.”

Can you tell which direction it’s leaning right now?

Part of me wants to think it’s all a genius ruse. By doing everything you can to make it look like you’re avoiding Aspinall, does it really add more excitement to an eventual fight with Aspinall? Is that what so many of Jones’ other light heavyweight title defenses were missing, some lingering suspicion that Jones was perhaps a little worried about those opponents?

I want to believe this for two reasons. One is because we would eventually end up seeing Jones vs. Aspinall for the undisputed heavyweight title. The second is because I think it would really work as a sales pitch. If you tell people that Jones is strutting his stuff in another fight in which he’s the heavy favorite, they’ll understandably feel like they’ve seen that before. However, you tell them that they’ve pressured him to fight someone he would have preferred to stay away from, and that feels like something new.

This is not to say that Jones is afraid of Aspinall. I think if you put Jones in a hole with a grizzly bear, he’ll really feel like he’s going to win. Fans love to accuse fighters of being afraid, mainly because that’s the emotion those fans are most familiar with when it comes to fighting another human being. But no one gets very far in this sport if that kind of fear governs their thinking. They certainly don’t rise to the top, as Jones did, or stay there for years and years, to the point where they almost seem bored.

So if it’s not fear that’s keeping Jones from apparently even considering a fight with Aspinall anytime soon, and if we’re operating under the assumption (for now) that it’s not part of some grand plan, what is?

We have to ask because, clearly, Jones has been working overtime to make Aspinall look like a nobody. She has dismissed it as if she were a passing flare. He has called it an over-the-top work that only appeals to UK fans. In tweets, he dismisses it as an “internal champion,” which feels like a burn, at least partially assisted by autocorrect, but repeated often enough to make you wonder.

For some reason, Jones doesn’t want that fight next. He wants Miocic in his place. But why?

The main explanation is legacy. Or at least, it’s Jones’s. perception of his own legacy. Jones is a fighter who cares a lot about what people think of him. He probably wouldn’t admit it. He might even actively refute it. But it’s true, and it’s been true throughout his career.

The irony is that no one has done more damage to Jones’ legacy than Jones himself. He’s made it so we can’t talk about his career without also talking about his arrests and problems with drug testing and all the times he got in his own way. There is not even the option of separating the fighter inside the cage from the person who exists outside of it, since his actions in his personal life have cost him belts, fights and even victories, not just once or twice, of course, but repeatedly.

Still, Jones is smart enough to know that sports fans tend to forget about personal transgressions when professional accomplishments are big enough. He wants to be remembered as the greatest MMA fighter of all time and based solely on his accomplishments in the cage, he probably deserves it. So when he seeks a fight with Miocic instead of one with Aspinall, we have to look at it through the lens of legacy. Jones isn’t thinking about who fans care about most right now. He’s thinking about how the name will look on his resume.

Miocic? According to statistics, he is the best heavyweight champion in UFC history. So if Jones can beat Miocic, even a 41-year-old version of him who hasn’t fought in over three years, he probably thinks it will go a long way toward cementing him as the greatest of all time.

As for Aspinall? He’s a big, scary heavyweight, but beating him now probably won’t add much to the trophy case. Plus, if he really is that good, he can keep fighting and beating other heavyweights until a win over him means more.

For a mind obsessed with curating a certain body of work, it makes sense. The risk is that focusing too much on healing could also become part of Jones’ legacy. Fight fans are not particularly forgiving of those who pick too much. They love fighters who take on all comers, preferably without thinking about the career ramifications.

Is that a little unfair, especially for someone like Jones, who beat absolutely everyone there was to beat at 205 pounds before moving up to heavyweight? Sure. It is also reality. And once you find yourself spending all day tweeting about why No Fight against a certain person? In this business, that’s not usually a sign that you’re winning the battle of public opinion.

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