Al Iaquinta Calls Out 'Bully' Thiago Alves For UFC 205

Al Iaquinta Calls Out 'Bully' Thiago Alves For UFC 205

It's been one of the craziest years in UFC history with title belts changing hands almost every month, the UFC coming under the ownership and some of the bi

Aug 3, 2016 by Duane Finley
Al Iaquinta Calls Out 'Bully' Thiago Alves For UFC 205
It's been one of the craziest years in UFC history with title belts changing hands almost every month, the UFC coming under the ownership and some of the biggest names in the sport testing positive under the USADA programme.

One man who has been able to take it all in has been UFC lightweight Al Iaquinta who has been sidelined for over a year with a knee injury since beating Jorge Masvidal back in March 2015.

Following a complicated surgery, Iaquinta went through a serious rehabilitation process to get the strength back in his knee. Having done the sensible thing and taken things step-by-step, Iaquinta is now back in the gym full time and getting towards being back to full fitness. Unsurprisingly, Iaquinta described the last year or so as a miserable period for him.

"It's feeling good man, every now and then I have to pull back a little bit but it just feel so good to be back in the gym and training with everyone," Iaquinta said. "The whole process of what I had to go was just a nightmare, man. I'm just happy to be back doing what I love doing.

"My knee isn't like 100% quite yet because there are days when I push it really hard and it will just kinda aches the next day, so I just kinda pull back a little bit. I just don't want to go too hard too soon. But yeah, It's feeling good and I'm training hard so yeah it's all good."


Dark days during injury

The road back for Iaquinta has been a hard one but it has been made all the more difficult to stomach given the momentum he had built up before the surgery. With four big wins on the bounce against Damm, Lauzon, Pearson and Masvidal, he had cracked the top ten of the UFC lightweight division and has since fallen back down to thirteen.

"It was a tough, tough time," Iaquinta said somberly. "There were days when I couldn't even think about fighting again and a lot of things just left a sour taste in my mouth. The whole process was just frustrating having to find the best doctor and then having to get everything worked out so he could do the surgery on me.

"There was this whole process and so many steps in this whole thing. It took me six months just to have the surgery I wanted to have and then I had to recover from that. I just felt like I wasted so much of my time and I'm just happy to be back. it gave me a whole new appreciation for my health."

Being out the spotlight only made really was something that Iaquinta was neither used to or enjoyed.

"I missed being around, being in the mix," Iaquinta said. "Every fight I was having was just one after another with no downtime. Damm, Lauzon, Pearson--I wasn't even home from Australia and I took a call for the Masvidal fight.

"I just loved seeing my stock rise in the fight game. Winning fights, opening people's eyes and getting them behind me. That's all the stuff that I love to do and the last year and change has just been miserable."


Real Estate Al

As much as it pained Iaquinta to be outside of the UFC bubble, the Long Island native used his time wisely to achieve some notable accomplishments outside of fighting.

"This whole thing kinda opened my eyes that I'm not going to be able to do this my whole life which yeah, it's a little scary," Iaquinta said. "I thought I might not even fight again so I had to figure out some other things so I went back to school and I got my real estate salesperson licence so I'm not putting all of my eggs in this one basket anymore. Things in this sport can change in an instant but I used the time to improve myself in all aspects of my life."

With his recovery now in his rear-view mirror, Iaquinta can finally start contemplating getting back to his job inside the Octagon. Unsurprisingly, he has his mind set on one very special date coming up on the UFC calendar. He also has an opponent in mind who he is none too happy with right now.


A New York return to face 'bully' Thiago Alves

"I definitely want to fight in New York in November," Iaquinta said. "That's the target and the man I want to fight is Thiago Alves. He's been asking to fight me every month since the surgery and he's been the biggest pain in my ass.

"I told the UFC I'd ring them when I'm ready to come back and my manager keeps ringing me and telling me that 'Thiago Alves wants to fight you in June' then July, then August.

"He's seriously pissed me off. I didn't even want to think about fighting anybody. I just wanted to think about healing and now I got this guy calling me out and trying to bully me into a fight and to come back before I'm ready so that's really pissed me off. I'm just like, dude, shut the f*uck up and when we fight we fight. November I'm ready. He wants to fight me and I want to fight him. Let's make it happen at MSG."

With the list of people wanting to fight at UFC 205 November 12th in New York seemingly growing by the day, Iaquinta thinks it should be a card packed for of local market fighters, of course, including himself and all his pals at team Serra-Longo.

"We've all been in New York forever and we haven't been able to fight here," Iaquinta reasoned. "I'm sure they are going to load it up with big names but I think the New York guys should get first dibs for getting on that card. That's how it should be."


Eddie F*****g Alvarez

One man who may be vying to get on the card is the new UFC lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez. Iaquinta isn't a fan of Alvarez's though it's for a reason not so many fans will be aware of. The story behind his beef stems back to Iaquinta's days of fighting under the Ring Of Combat banner.

"I'm gunning for Alvarez that's for sure," Iaquinta said. "I got this one draw on my record and that was against Will Martinez in Ring Of Combat. Alvarez was in his corner when we were fighting and there was this one point where I was pinned up against the fence and I used my hand to push off the cage.

"It was right in front of the guy's corner and Eddie Alvarez was shouting 'hey ref he's grabbing the cage, he's grabbing the cage', so the ref listens to him and takes a point off me. I won two rounds to one so that made it a draw with the point taken off. Every time I see that draw on my record I think of Will Martinez and Eddie f*****g Alvarez."

"He cost me that so that's something I really want to get back down the line," he added. "I'm going to come back, make a statement and then get that job done."