Top-ranked lightweight contender, Al Iaquinta has praised the “BMF” winner Jorge Masvidal as “one of the toughest fights” he’s ever had.
Before “Raging Al” made a name for himself against the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kevin Lee, the New York native was delivering show-stopper performances against the likes of Diego Sanchez and Jorge Masvidal.
He faced “Gamebred” in the Octagon in 2015 where he scored a controversial split decision victory. After experiencing the full striking force of the BMF title holder, Iaquinta has nothing but respect for his former opponent.
“He’s a guy that I watched when I was coming up,” he said to BJPenn journalist Natasha Hooper. “He was fighting in backyards, Strikeforce everywhere. So, the opportunity to fight him came up and I jumped on it. I thought it was a great opportunity. Luckily I came away with the win, thankfully. That was one of the toughest fights I’ve had, [I] got beaten up pretty bad in the first round.”
Masvidal had a great year in 2019. He impressed fans when he knocked out the British (former) welterweight Darren Till in the second round of UFC London. His popularity reached new heights when he delivered a record-shattering 5 second KO win against Ben Askren a few months later. He gave the former ONE welterweight champion the first loss of his career. Masvidal then solidified his superstar status when he defeated Nate Diaz for the “Baddest Motherf*cker Title” at UFC 244 in November 2014. Iaquinta believes Gamebred’s rise to success proves anything is possible.
“But seeing him kind of skyrocket, it’s good. You think at that age, he’s been around for so long, it really gives anyone hope that at any time you can just rise to the occasion, get the stars aligned, you just got to keep pushing,” Iaquinta said.
“I don’t know if he was as focused early on in his career, maybe a little young? [But] I think as he’s grown up, he’s really matured as a fighter. Going up in weight class I think helped him a lot, he seems like a happier person at 170.”
Later on this year, Masvidal is expected to take on the current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Like Askren, Usman is celebrated for his wrestling skillset. Iaquinta believes Masvidal’s unpredictable fighting style could result in another unpredictable outcome.
“I’m looking forward to that fight, I think that’s going to be a good fight. I think people thought Askren was going to take him down but the same could happen again against Usman. The fight will be a little different right off the bat.”
Do you think “Gamebred” has what it takes to defeat the current welterweight champion? Sound off in the comments below. In the meantime, make sure to rewatch Al Iaquinta vs Jorge Masvidal from their 2015 bout on UFC Fight Pass.