Conor McGregor expressed his wish to get an immediate rematch against reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Al Iaquinta believes he is more deserving of a rematch than the former champ-champ.
“If Conor thinks he’s getting a rematch before me, I think that’s some nonsense.” Iaquinta said in his post-fight interview following his unanimous decision victory against Kevin Lee at UFC Milwaukee.
Both Conor McGregor and Al Iaquinta have put their skills to the test against Khabib Nurmagomedov in the past year, with both men falling short. However, the circumstances under which the bouts came together could not have been more different.
“Ragin’” Al stepped up to take on Nurmagomedov on only a days’ notice at UFC 223, following the withdrawal of current featherweight king Max Holloway due to health-related weight cutting problems. Although Khabib Nurmagomedov’s title was not on the line against the Wantagh native, due to the fact Iaquinta weighed in a pound over the strict championship weight limit of 155lbs for the lightweight division. He was previously for a scheduled fight with Paul Felder, but against Nurmagomedov, Iaquinta lasted the entire five rounds and gave the champ quite a scare in the last round with a final rally, displaying the immense heart and toughness of the Serra-Longo fight team member.
On the other hand, Conor McGregor was unable to compete with Khabib in any aspect of the bout, in wrestling or striking. McGregor succumbed to Khabib’s pressure in the fourth round of the UFC 299 main event and tapped out to a neck crank.
As far as Iaquinta is concerned, that gives him reason to get a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov before Conor McGregor does.
“I’m the guy who if he wants to get a rematch, I’m the guy. No immediate rematch for him, he tapped out. I took it like man on a week’s notice, he had all the time in the world to prepare, and he wanted a way out.”
With an impressive victory against #4 ranked Kevin Lee at the weekend, does Al Iaquinta deserve to have his wish granted by Dana White? Or does Conor McGregor deserve another crack with bitter rival Khabib Nurmagomedov?