Iaquinta unfortunately hasn’t been a stranger to injuries over his career. After a knee procedure to clean up some scar tissue Iaquinta found himself on a much slower road to recovery than expected. Dealing with other nagging injuries, dealing with pain on a daily basis, training seemed to make things worse. He was discouraged and left wondering if he would be able to fight again. So much to the point that he wondered if it was time to call it a career. For some professional fighters relying on this to support themselves and their family that can be a very difficult decision. While Iaquinta’s decision was by no means an easy one he’s also been able to build a strong real estate career, opening up other business opportunities in the process. Yet despite that he wasn’t ready to call it quits just yet.
Over the last two years since Raging Al’s last fight he’s continued to rehab, support other Serra Longo teammates, and mature not only as a person and a professional, but mentally as a fighter as well. When Iaquinta started to feel a bit more himself over the summer he began to realize retirement may just have to take a back seat for now. He was able to dial it up during training with Ray Longo and get back to what he best described as “normal”. Motivated by his teammates setting and achieving their goals, Iaquinta began to visualize himself back in that same position. The UFC announced a fight at MSG, Iaquinta’s body responded well to training, he got a call about fighting Bobby Green and the rest takes us to this Saturday.
Some people may ask themselves why? Why put in all the effort, the surgeries, the rehab, the physical therapy, the mental strain and everything else that comes with. It’s something you or I who aren’t mixed martial artists or professional fighters wouldn’t fully comprehend. We all have a purpose in life. A void that needs to be filled. Why did Brett Favre come out of retirement? Why is Tom Brady still playing football at such a high level when he’s all ready achieved so much? It’s the love of the game, the competition, having a goal to strive for, achieving that goal and then setting bigger goals, or even just the energy of a packed crowd. Those are all feelings that a different career or retirement can’t come close to matching. Iaquinta has shown over the years he certainly knows his worth, knows he could live comfortably as a real estate agent and an entrepreneur, but he also knows he has the skillset and the drive to be at the top of the lightweight division. “This is who I am, I’m a fighter at heart” Iaquinta told media on Thursday. Al Iaquinta was born to fight and that road back begins this Saturday.