EXCLUSIVE | After being forced out of UFC 218, Al Iaquinta is unsure about his fighting future

Al Iaquinta

After being forced out of UFC 218 with an injury, UFC lightweight Al Iaquinta is currently unsure about his fighting future.

“Raging Al” was expected to square off with Paul Felder at the highly anticipated pay-per-view event in Detroit, but was ultimately forced off the card with an injury.

Iaquinta recently joined BJ Penn Radio where he discussed his injury as well as his fighting future.

“I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago. It’s recovering. It’s getting better, but for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy. The way things are going it wasn’t looking like that was gonna be possible. So, it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd.

I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement. 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, I think 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.

So, I called Sean Selby the next day and I told him that I was out. 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. Yeah, 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, and it’s a fight that if I was to go in … to go in 100% you really got to be every confident in that what you get out of it is what you kind of put in.

I don’t know if that makes any sense. You beat a guy like Paul Felder. He’s unranked. We were working on a contract. I felt kind of rushed with the whole, I just … I was under the gun, I felt like and to negotiate a new contract in a day. I just didn’t like the way those things were going. I felt like I was in an unadvantageous position no matter what the scenario was. Even to win the fight, even if I did on a quick knockout again, I don’t get bonuses. The contract what it was, the amount of time that I would’ve had to put in, the time that I would’ve had to take away from the other things I was doing … just all roads led to just hold off, keep doing what I’m doing.

I feel like I’m coming towards the end of my career the way that things are looking out, so if I’m gonna fight, it’s gotta be worth it. I have to be feeling really good. I can’t be selling houses and fighting guys like Paul Felder. It’s just not, you know.

I don’t need surgery. I’m just kind of playing it by ear seeing how I’m feeling. 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 went on to the Ultimate Fighter, those contracts are bullsh-t, there’s no money on the Ultimate Fighter, so that’s a huge risk. I got injured a lot on that. You go through the Ultimate, 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. I just love fighting so much. I’m in a really weird position right now. It’s like I don’t know.

If I’m gonna fight an unranked guy, and I’m gonna fight for the same amount of money, I might as well fight the easiest guy, right? Otherwise, pay me money and I’ll fight somebody that’s like a top guy. But I’m not gonna fight an unranked guy that’s neck and neck with Edson Barboza for the same amount of money I would get to fight Kajan Johnson.”

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