It’s now been many months since Al Iaquinta’s thrilling return to the Octagon, in which he thumped Diego Sanchez to a beautiful, first-round knockout. Fans have been eager to see him back in the cage ever since.
For a moment, it sounded as though Iaquinta would be returning to the cage for a fight with Paul Felder at UFC 218 this December 2. Regrettably, this scrap fell through just shortly after it was announced.
“I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement,” Iaquinta explained on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio. “Basically I told them I wasn’t gonna be fighting the day after I agreed to the fight. I was kind of put under the gun a little bit to accept the fight. You know, I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything.”
“I called Sean Selby the next day and I told him that I was out,” he continued. “It took them a while to release that I wasn’t fighting. I don’t know what took so long, but that was how that kind of went down. I mean Paul Felder’s a tough guy. I respect him tremendously. His skillset, he’s got great offense and he’s got even better defense so it’s a fight that I definitely don’t wanna go in unprepared for.”
Al Iaquinta then explained that, with this Paul Felder fight off the table, and his real estate business doing well, his fighting future is looking as nebulous as ever. From the sounds of it, there’s a good chance we won’t see him in the cage again.
“I feel like I’m coming towards the end of my career the way that things are looking, so if I’m gonna fight, it’s gotta be worth it,” he said. “I gotta be feeling really good. I can’t be selling houses and fighting guys like Paul Felder.”
“I’m just kind of playing it by ear seeing how I’m feeling,” he continued. “When the Diego Sanchez fight got offered to me, it felt like I was in a good position. It felt like it was a good fight for me at the time. I was coming off a two year layoff, it’s a good fight. To be honest with you, I really didn’t train the right way for that fight. Financially, I was not able to train for that fight. It’s insane. It’s really insane, but thank God I was able to go in there and perform the way I did, but it’s not always gonna work out like that.”
“The way I see it, I’ve been taking the risks the whole time [I’ve been fighting]. I went on to the Ultimate Fighter, [and] those contracts are bullshit. Really you make no money on the Ultimate Fighter, so that’s a huge risk. I got injured a lot on that. You go through the Ultimate Fighter, I made it to the finals so I got a contract. You think you’re gonna make money once you get into the UFC. I don’t know. I don’t wanna even keep harping on it…”
“I just wanna feel comfortable going in there and fighting. I wanna feel like I’m not holding back anything. I wanna feel like I’m just letting it all go, and I don’t know if I would’ve felt that way [at UFC 218]. I just love fighting so much. I’m in a really weird position right now. It’s like I don’t know.”
“Yeah, I’m kind of leaning towards that, man,” Iaquinta concluded when discussing a retirement from fighting. “I’m not where I wanted to be, and it’s just not worth it, you know.”
Do you think Al Iaquinta should keep fighting?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 16/11/2017.