UFC 295’s Sergei Pavlovich: “For Me, This Is the Legit Title”

New York, NY — With Jon Jones injured, Russian heavyweight Sergei Pavlovich gets his first shot at UFC gold at this Saturday’s UFC 295 in New York City.

While the asterisk next to that title will say “interim,” it’s a chance to claim a major title in the world’s leading MMA promotion — and ensure a shot at the undisputed title whenever Jones returns and faces ex-champ Stipe Miocic, which appears to remain the plan.

For Pavlovichc (18-1), however, the title he’ll be fighting for inside the hallowed grounds of Madison Square Garden is the one that matters. “For me, this is the legit title,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press during Wednesday’s UFC 295 media day.

Sergei Pavlovich, as it turns out, was training to be a back-up for Jones vs. Miocic, the original UFC 295 main event. Now, he’s facing neither the man considered one of the best of all time, nor the best heavyweight of all time. Instead, it’s Tom Aspinall who will face off with Pavlovich, but he’s not taking the Brit any more lightly.

“I don’t think you can take an opponent lightly, I don’t think I’m underestimating him in any way. We’re prepared, we’re prepared for anybody. We prepared really hard. Everything’s serious, everything’s a hundred percent.”

Asked whether he had time to bring in any new training partners, or make any changes to his camp, Pavlovich noted that “a couple of things did have to be adjusted, but when it comes to sparring partners, we have a lot of different people in the gym. So we have plenty of people that we could substitute.”

Should he capture the UFC interim heavyweight title this Saturday, the potential match-ups moving forward are Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic — assuming the winner of that title fight doesn’t simply retire at the end of it. Pavlovich, however, doesn’t have a preference as to who he might face if he gets the chance.

“To be honest both of them are legends, so it doesn’t matter to me,” he stated.

Watch the full UFC 295 media day appearance by Sergei Pavlovich above.