From selling houses to Project Spearhead to the main event at UFC Milwaukee this Saturday, ‘Raging Al’ has a lot on his plate these days.
Milwaukee, WI — Al Iaquinta had a lot to say at UFC Milwaukee’s media day on Thursday. Featured in the main event of the final UFC on FOX show, Iaquinta, who remarkably is coming off an impressive title challenge against Khabib Nurmagomedov back in April at UFC 223, covered everything from his fight against Kevin Lee, to Project Spearhead, and even his nickname.
Which, by the way, does not have an apostrophe. “It’s always been ‘Raging Al,'” Iaquinta clarified for media members on Thursday. “For the longest time, Mark La Monica at Newsday kept putting ‘Ragin” — ‘Ragin” with the N and the apostrophe. I kept correcting him, and eventually, now he’s on the team.”
Glad we got that cleared up. In the meantime, there’s a rematch against Kevin Lee for Iaquinta to look forward to. He defeated Lee once before in the UFC, but with so many players at lightweight right now, the pair are getting a second go-round. “Training’s in. Hard work’s done. I’m in a great place right now. I’m looking forward to going out there and performing,” he said of the fight.
Nor is he sweating any potential zaniness, should it arise. As was the case at UFC 223, when Iaquinta found himself thrust into a title fight thanks to the antics of Conor McGregor.
“Who knows, if something crazy happens, it could work out for you,” Iaquinta pointed out. “Whatever happens, I’ll just roll with it. I’m pretty good at doing that. It’s been good so far.”
Asked about his opponent Lee, who has claimed he’ll send Iaquinta “back to the prelims,” ‘Raging Al’ admitted that “I don’t really like him too much.” But at the same time, he doesn’t share the same desire the stall his opponent’s career. “When I beat him the first time, I wasn’t like ‘oh I’m going to send this kid back to the regional circuit.’ Obviously I beat him, and if I beat somebody, I wan them to be great, I want them to become as good as they can be. If they become champ, I beat the champ. That’s kind of how you got to look at it.”
“I don’t understand, if he sends me back to the prelims and I’m in the prelims and I’m not a good fighter, then okay, Kevin Lee, you beat a nobody,” he continued. “Why would you want to beat a nobody? So I’m going to beat Kevin Lee, Kevin Lee’s going to keep doing good, and he’s going to be hopefully the number two contender. But this is the second time I’ve beat him, I don’t see there being a third.”
Al Iaquinta does see a lot of Lee’s pre-fight talk as just that: talk. Iaquinta sees himself as more authentic. “I think if there were more fighters like me, this world would be a better place.”
For example, “A lot of fighters, they take what they get. They don’t fight as hard outside of the cage as they do inside the cage, put it that way.”
Which takes us to one of Al’s fights outside the cage: Project Spearhead. The movement to determine whether UFC fighters were employees or contractors was headed up by Leslie Smith and Kajan Johnson, both of whom have been given their walking papers. Iaquinta remains the last active UFC fighter on the organization’s board, but he admits that “I don’t know what the deal is with that is, I haven’t heard any new updates.”
“I have been in contact with Leslie Smith a little bit, but I don’t know where it’s at right now,” he explained. And for good reason. “My head’s been totally in a different realm. I got houses to sell, I got people coming to try to kick my ass, Kevin Lee’s trying to send me to the prelims. I got a lot of things to think about, and there’s an order of priorities right now.”
Real Estate Maverick. Champion for fighter’s rights. And fighter, plain and simple. ‘Raging Al’ has plenty on his plate these days, and up next is Kevin Lee in the main event of UFC Milwaukee (UFC on FOX 31) this Saturday, December 15 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.