Pavlovich (18-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) and Aspinall (13-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) have been booked for an interim title fight in the UFC 295 co-main event after a torn pectoral muscle forced heavyweight champion Jon Jones out of his title defense against Stipe Miocic on Nov. 11 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
With Jones facing an eight-month recovery timeline, Cejudo doesn’t see the need for an interim belt. He views Pavlovich vs. Aspinall as a glorified No. 1 contender fight.
“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 knocked out his past six opponents in the first round, and Cejudo is siding with him to beat Aspinall based on his power.
“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.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 295.