When the rankings came out on Tuesday The UFC lightweight division would see a few changes. Iaquinta moves to 4th, breaking into the Top 5 for the first time in his career. Raging Al recorded a unanimous decision win over Kevin Lee Saturday night, now winning six of his last seven. The win would jump Iaquinta in the rankings from 8th to 4th. Outside of the move in the rankings the hard fought win over Lee continued to open up eyes in the mixed martial arts world. The misconception of real estate agent/part time fighter has faded away. Not only has the narrative changed but it’s Iaquinta who’s in the conversation to potentially challenge for the lightweight belt once again.
With Iaquinta now shaking up the division which fight would make sense for the New Yorker next? Iaquinta had some thoughts of his own speaking to John Anik during his post fight interview. “If Conor [McGregor] thinks he’s going to get a rematch [with Nurmagomedov], that’s nonsense” Iaquinta said. “I’m the guy he’s got to get through if he wants a rematch. He tapped out. I took it like a man.” Iaquinta went on “With the right preparation, with the right fight I can beat anyone in the division.”
Iaquinta expressed interest in fighting former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson as well. Although the fight would be an intriguing one it would make the most sense to match Ferguson up with current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. To add to the craziness of this division Khabib may still face a suspension due to the brawl that broke out following his fight with McGregor. Also in the mix of the top five is lightweight Dustin Poirier who was knocked out by Connor McGregor. Poirier could also be a potential opponent for Iaquinta. Yet the possibility of matching up Iaquinta and McGregor seems to make a lot of sense.
Iaquinta went into further detail on fighting McGregor on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show. “He’s gotten gifted a lot of sh*t. He’s been given the best opponents and the most money his entire career” Iaquinta explained. “He can spend all the money he wants, bring in the best wrestlers in the world. There’s no way this guy has it. Kevin Lee didn’t have it, he doesn’t have it. When it gets tough they check out. I’m a different breed in there, they know they’re going to have to kill me.”
These matchup questions add excitement to what many already consider the most exciting division in the UFC. Could we see a scenario where Ferguson fights Khabib and the winner of Iaquinta McGregor gets a shot at the title? That remains to be seen. What we do know is Al Iaquinta is geared up to wreak havoc in the light weight division.