Al Iaquinta Hits The Mark While Discussing Lightweight Division’s Title Shot Picture

As the MMA world waits to see who Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend the UFC’s 155 crown against next, Al Iaquinta has hit the mark, in terms of who he thinks should challenge the champ.

Since Nurmagomedov submitted Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in October, there’s been endless speculation regarding when and who the vaunted fighter will face next. After the card, McGregor relayed he wants an immediate rematch, if it’s tabled, and of course, Tony Ferguson is waiting in the wings.

Well, Iaquinta was on hand at UFC Brooklyn on Saturday, and as a result, the lightweight contender spoke with the media. While discussing who he wants to fight next, and the division’s title shot picture, “Raging Al” had this to say (quotes via MMA Junkie):

“I want to fight anybody ranked above me,” Iaquinta said. “I want to fight Tony Ferguson. I want to fight Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier. A win over either of those guys will get me that rematch with Khabib, which is something I want to do this year and have a full training camp, really be prepared. I know that’s a fight that, it would be a lot different the second time around.”

“He’s (Ferguson) put together a string of wins in this crazy division of lightweights that’s remarkable,” Iaquinta said, when asked specifically about Ferguson’s case for a title shot. “As much as I can’t stand the guy, I can respect that he’s a tough competitor, and he’s definitely earned that.”

Yup. It’s pretty hard to dispute that a guy who has won 11 straights fights, who has defeated the likes of Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis,  Rafael dos Anjos and Edson Barboza during that time shouldn’t be next. Not to mention the fact Ferguson won the interim title during that run, and never actually lost the belt. So, Iaquinta should be commended for acknowledging that Ferguson deserves a title shot.

Of course, the big question is whether he’ll get it. Since Nurmagomedov – McGregor II would unquestionably move a ton of pay-per-views, the UFC is going to leave that option on the table. Even if Khabib and many others (like Iaquinta) have argued McGregor doesn’t deserve a rematch.

That said, Dana White has acknowledged that Nurmagomedov – Ferguson makes sense, and this past weekend, McGregor told Donald Cerrone he’s down to fight. So, maybe “El Cucuy” will get his long-awaited crack at the belt in 2019 after all?

Iaquinta, meanwhile, is coming off a decision win over the aforementioned Lee in December.

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