Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
For those hoping to see Al Iaquinta return to the UFC’s octagon this summer, it doesn’t seem likely to happen.
Although nothing has been made official by the promotion, the UFC is discussing the possibility of returning to Long Island, N.Y., for its July 17 Fight Night event. With Iaquinta unsure about the future of his fighting career, he was asked on The MMA Hour on Wednesday what the chances would be that he would return to competition on that card if it was close to home.
“Slim to none,” Iaquinta told Ariel Helwani.
When asked if that meant he was done competing and retired, Iaquinta wasn’t ready to land on either side of the fence.
“I don’t know, man, I don’t know,” Iaquinta said. “Let’s just keep doing what we’re [currently] doing.”
Iaquinta most recently competed in November at UFC 268, where he was stopped by Bobby Green via first-round TKO in what was his third straight loss. The 35-year-old hasn’t tasted victory since earning a unanimous decision against Kevin Lee in the main event of UFC on FOX 31 in December 2018.
Although he hasn’t been actively seeking fights, Iaquinta has been staying busy with his flourishing real estate career as well as being a corner and support system for his teammates, including UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, who defeated Petr Yan via split decision to retain his title at UFC 273 in April.
Earlier this week, Sterling was honored in the Long Island area with “Aljamain Sterling Day,” which was quite the site to see, according to Iaquinta.
“It was insane,” Iaquinta explained. “We went through all of the towns, ended up at Uniondale High School, it was awesome to see.
“That guy, after 13 months of what that guy went through, when the other guy knees him in the head and all of these fans come after him — and I love him because he just keeps poking at them a little bit and keeps them going — and the way he went out there, I mean everyone thought he was [going to get] killed that fight. Everyone said he was getting killed this time, he’s an actor, this and that. That first fight was not a true representation of Aljo, and he’s still getting so much better. It’s scary. He was out 13 months, that’s a long layoff, and did you see how quickly he took Petr Yan’s back?
“But Aljo was loving everybody, and this is a guy who deserves it.”
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