Jon Jones ‘being the smaller guy’ is far bigger factor than any ‘ring rust from three years out’ in fight with Ciryl Gane for vacant UFC heavyweight title, claims Tom Aspinall
- Tom Aspinall is working his way back from a serious knee injury from last year
- He will be among the top heavyweight contenders again when he returns
- British star had his say on Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane for the vacant title
Tom Aspinall has played down the idea that ring rust will impact Jon Jones in his huge UFC 285 showdown with Ciryl Gane next month.
The British heavyweight, who is making his way back from knee surgery, offered his verdict ahead of ‘Bones’ long-awaited debut in the division.
He thinks Jones’ vast experience means it will not take long for the American to get up to speed despite not having fought since February 2020.
‘I don’t believe in ring rust, I think it’s a load of rubbish but it does depend on who you are,’ Aspinal told OLBG.
‘I actually feel better because of the time out. It is sometimes good to take a break from the pressure of it all.
Tom Aspinall suffered a freak knee injury in his fight against Curtis Blaydes next year
Aspinall does not think Jon Jones will suffer from any ring rust after three years out
‘But someone like Jon Jones who has had five million title fights, it’s not going to affect him too much. His timing might be off a little bit for a couple minutes, but it’s not going to be a massive factor for him.
‘The biggest factor is the move up in weight, he’s not going to be miles bigger than everyone else, he’s going to be a smaller guy in most fights and that’s way bigger factor than having three years out.
‘For an upcomer without experience ring rust may be a real thing but we are talking about one of the best guys ever, who has had a ridiculous amount of title fights, I don’t think it will be any issue for him.’
The 29-year-old No 6-ranked heavyweight in the UFC is impressed with Gane and believes Jones will have his work cut out against the Frenchman.
He went on: ‘I think Ciryl Gane is a tough fight for Jon Jones. I highly rate Gane. He’s really good and has a style unlike a lot of other heavyweights.
‘You could make a case that me and Gane have similar styles. I would have been a good sparring partner, but he’s not asked me,’ he added.
‘I’m not saying I’m exactly the same as Cyril Gane, but there’s not many guys who are our size and can move like we both can. It’s pretty rare.’
Ciryl Gane (right) is taking on Jones on March 5 for the vacant heavyweight title
Aspinall is likely to have his chance against both men in the years ahead. He was on an upward trajectory until a freak knee injury just seconds into his clash with Curtis Blaydes last year halted progress.
A torn MCL, torn meniscus and damaged ACL required surgical intervention but he is back training again and even talked up the idea of fighting on the UFC London card in March, though that is likely to come too soon.
He will be watching with great interest to see how Jones and Gane fare next month, while plotting a return to the path he was on last year.
Tom Aspinall collapsed in agony after just 15 seconds last July but is nearing a return to action
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