You have to go back four years to see the last time Al Iaquinta fought on the undercard of an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event, defeating Rodrigo Damm via third round knockout at UFC Fight Night 50.
But “Ragin’ Al” has come a long way since, headlining one major pay-per-view (PPV) event after facing Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223, while three of his other four bouts have seen him co-headline cards. But that will all come to an end, according to Kevin Lee, who says it’s his job to send the pro-fighter-turned realtor back to the prelims.
“He’s got some good qualities probably, but we just are two different types of people,” Lee said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “We’ve crossed paths a couple times in these last years, and we’re just two different [people].
“He’s that Jersey boy that’s going to get drunk and f*ck up a hotel room, and I just don’t think there’s a — his voice shouldn’t be no bigger than it already is, so I feel like it’s my personal duty to get him up out of there and put him back on the prelims,” he added.
Lee and Iaquinta will headline this weekend’s (Sat., Dec. 15, 2018) UFC on FOX 31 fight card — he last UFC event on FOX — which is set to go down inside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Lee, though, knows firsthand it’s no easy task to score a win over Al.
“He’s got some things that I’ve got to watch out for. Al’s a tough guy, I’m not going to take it away from him. I don’t really like him, but I’m going to respect his style and I’m going to respect his skills. He could show up and he’s never going to go away, and it’s going to make for a damn good fight, so I’ve made this training camp the hardest that it could possibly be because I know he’s going to give me a good fight.”
The two initially met back at UFC 169 back in 2014 in what marked Lee’s Octagon debut. After three rounds of action — which took place on the undercard — Iaquinta walked away with a unanimous decision win. With more experience under his belt now, Lee feels this time around the tables will turn in his favor.
With a win, “The Motown Phenom” hopes to score another shot at winning UFC gold against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Or, at the very least, score a big-money fight against former UFC “champ-champ,” Conor McGregor.
The line to face off against “Notorious,” however, is growing by the minute.