This weeks interview is with the man himself Al Iaquinta. I want to thank him for sitting and talking to me for a few minutes earlier today. I know he has a lot going on so I’m glad we could have a few minutes to talk. It was great actually being able to talk to the person who this blog is about. This Friday night Al will take on Mike Chiesa with a UFC contract on the line. Once Al is back in New York and settled well have a sit down, video interview to talk about this entire experience. For now here’s a look into Al’s week, his journey back into the real world, and a look into his fight this Friday.
How exciting has it been being connected back with the world? You’ve always had a big following on every level of competition. How overwhelming have you found all the support during this process?
It’s been crazy man. It’s been great catching up on everything that’s been going on the past couple months, but it’s also been very overwhelming. The support not only during the show but over the years has been incredible. It’s awesome to find out about, but I’m not surprised. My family, friends, and fans are the best.
Is there anything going on in the world over the past three months you found out about that was surprising?
I was really upset to hear a friend of mine Rob Priest had passed away while all this was going on. I’d like to give my condolences to all his friends and family, I’m sorry for their loss.
After that I haven’t heard anything shocking yet. I’m sure there’s more I’ll find out about once I get home.
Where are you training this week? Are there any issues changing your routine, living in a hotel, and watching your weight? Who do you have down there training with you?
In the house I was on a good schedule. I’ve been thrown off a little bit this week with the media and everything else. I was at Throw Down gym yesterday, and I’ll be bouncing around for the next few days. I’ll have Ray(Longo) here tomorrow which will be great after not seeing him for three months. I’ve also had my friends Anthony and Trevor down here to train with me. It’s been great having them. It makes me feel at home and lightens up the mood.
It’s actually been easier to watch my weight. When we were bored in the house we would hangout in the kitchen and eat a lot. It’s much easier when all that food isn’t right in front of you.
The main topic of discussion has been the format of the show. How challenging is it to make weight and fight three weeks in a row? Do you personally think in the future UFC will have to change the format of the show?
Making weight has been easier as the weeks go on. There hasn’t been much time for my weight to get too high. I’ve had some bangs and bruises especially after fighting some of the top prospects on the show, but I’m ready to go. I think they may switch the format keeping it Live, but then leaving some time leading up to the Finale the way other seasons have been.
You find yourself for the second time in just a few weeks once again fighting a guy in Mike Chiesa that has been a teammate and a friend. Are you even thinking about him as a teammate or is it beyond that at this point? Will it have a different feel then the Ogle fight now that your in an arena with Matt and Ray in your corner?
Right now there are no teams. Mike is just a road block in the way of my goal. I’m one step closer to my dream, and I’ll do whatever I can to get a victory. I’m sure the fight will definitely have a different feel to it. In an arena, with the crowd going crazy, it’s going to be very different then the fight against Andy(Ogle).
I know you’ve really enjoyed being coached by Urijah Faber. How important is it for you to have Ray and Matt back in your corner?
It’s going to be awesome. I’m excited to see them after three months and have them back in my corner Friday night. It’s going to be intimidating for Mike to see I have a former world champion, and one of the best boxing coaches in the game in my corner.
I know you can’t give away too much, but what are your thoughts on Mike Chiesa? What’s your game plan going into the fight?
He doesn’t like to stand, he’s going to be looking to take the fight to the ground. I’m confident I can keep the fight where I want it, out work him, and bring him to his breaking point. I need to continue to stay focused, stick to the plan, and keep the fight on my terms.
Now that you’ve had some time to reflect what are your thoughts on Vinc Pichel, and your Semi Final fight with him last week?
Vinc is tough as nails. I knew he would come out strong and would be a tough opponent. He has a lot of heart. I think I was just too technical for him, and that gave me a big advantage in that fight.
What’s your week been like heading into the Finale Friday? Are there less distractions media wise not being in the house?
There’s still been a lot of distractions, and a bunch of media attention. Camera’s have still been following me around during training so far this week. I’m used to it by now though, it has no effect on my training or staying focused.
Has it really hit you that your in the Finale of a reality show we grew up watching for almost a decade?
It really hasn’t hit me. Right now it just feels like another fight. I haven’t been able to see the show so I’m just living it. It’s been a surreal experience, I really need some time for all of it to sink in.
Any difference fighting in front of a big crowd Friday Night, or do you think your tunnel vision will just take over?
Of course there’s a difference but I won’t realize until after the fight. When I’m walking out it’s all tunnel vision, I don’t see anyone else. Even once I get in there it’s Chiesa, The Referee, Me, and that’s it.
Your one step closer to your Ultimate goal. How do you continue to stay focused and motivated during this lengthy process?
It’s been really easy to stay focused. In the house there’s nothing else to do. Eat, Sleep, Train, that’s it. It’s fighting 24-7. If we aren’t training were sitting around talking about fighting. It’s been an ideal situation.
Anything else you’d like to tell all your fans and all of Iaquinta Nation?
I just want to thank everyone again for all the support. I really appreciate it. Please go to UltimateFighter.com and vote for me for Best Fight against Myles Jury, and Best Knock out against Andy Ogle. See everyone soon.
Interview by- Matt Pellicane