The lightweight division is certainly an interesting one within the Ultimate Fighting Championship, with some of the promotion’s greatest contenders residing at 155 pounds. Still, there has to be a ranking system of some sort – and the man currently sitting in 11th, Al Iaquinta, may actually be the most well-rounded competitor of them all.
The 30-year-old Long Island native has been in the game for well over eight years now, and in that time he’s learned that nothing lasts forever.
“I was going stir crazy for two years, hopefully looking to fight again. So to come back and win like that, with a knockout, it was a dream come true. It was a lot to deal with, but I kinda celebrated a little too much I think. It is what it is.”
In particular, professional fighting is unforgiving at the best of times, and you need to have a plan B to fall back on if things go south. For Al, that ‘plan B’ is fairly solid in the form of a career as a real estate agent.
It’s something that you wouldn’t necessarily associate Raging Al with on the face of it, but once you start to understand his personality a little more then it all becomes clear.
That diversity is something that will take Iaquinta far outside of the octagon, and it’s also something that kept him going during what was almost certainly a depressing two-year lay-off.
“In the first year I’ve done eight [sales as a real estate agent] and I’ve got the ninth under contract right now, and my tenth is a listing that’s on the market. It took a while for me to get the hang of it, and the first six months was me kind of figuring it out. I think I could do great things, and it’s very similar to fighting in a lot of ways. It’s like an art.”
Al noted to us in an exclusive interview that he felt like he was going crazy on a number of occasions, likely wondering if he was ever going to get into the cage again. Thankfully for him, and us, he fulfilled his goal of fighting for the UFC once again earlier this year.
Alas, since recording this interview he’s been struck with another injury blow once again, meaning that his planned UFC 218 showdown against Paul Felder has been scrapped.
“I travel for like a month at a time. I’ve been to Australia twice and Russia, but at the four week mark I’m always ready to come home. I’ve got everyone I need here, and I know this area well. I just love Long Island. In the summer there’s nothing better.”
Still, that won’t be enough to keep Al down, with his set of wide-ranging skills set to lead him forward into an extremely promising future. Whether that lies in the UFC or not remains to be seen, but either way, it’s obvious that he has a lot of options on the table.
As a fan favourite Al is always going to be in the limelight whether he wants to be or not, and that’s going to be especially important in a division as stacked as lightweight. He seems confident enough that he’ll ascend to the top of one of his two fields, whether that be as a real estate agent or a fighter, and we’re looking forward to seeing where his journey goes next.