Former UFC lightweight title challenger Al Iaquinta has admitted he holds some regret over his decision to face Bobby Green for his return fight at UFC 268.
After two years away from action, Al Iaquinta made a comeback to the Octagon last November. Prior to his hiatus, the New York native fell to consecutive unanimous decision losses against Donald Cerrone and Dan Hooker.
Inside the prestigious Madison Square Garden, “Raging” Al hoped to return to the win column in front of a hometown crowd. In his way of doing so was Green, a fellow veteran whose level of activity represented the opposite of Iaquinta’s across 2020 and 2021.
Having narrowly fallen to defeat against rising star Rafael Fiziev in his previous outing, “King” was also hoping for a rebound performance. With his first finish since a 2013 body kick against James Krause, Green did exactly that.
Inside the opening round, the 35-year-old dropped Iaquinta, before swarming him for the early stoppage and spoiling the homecoming.
Iaquinta: “I Should Have Picked A Different Opponent”
While Green hopes to ride the momentum from that result into his first appearance of 2022 this weekend, a main-card clash with Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 271, Iaquinta may be hanging up his gloves
Shortly after the devastating loss, Iaquinta suggested that his appearance at UFC 268 was likely his last fight, which would call an end to a memorable 22-fight career. Iaquinta has since walked back these suggestions, taking a “we’ll see” approach to what may lie ahead.
Three months beyond his failed comeback, the former lightweight contender, who recorded wins against the likes of Jorge Masvidal, Diego Sanchez, and Kevin Lee during his UFC tenure, has looked back on his decision to return against an opponent as tough as Green.
During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Iaquinta admitted that he regrets choosing “King” as his 14th foe on MMA’s biggest stage.
“Bobby Green is a tough guy. I should have picked a different opponent than that after a two-year layoff, coming off of two losses. I’m like, I wanted the best opponent, I was like, ‘I want Bobby Green, that guy is looking good right now,'” said Iaquinta. “Looking back, I should have known. I did know he was good, but maybe we’ll take it back a notch on the competition and ease it into it a little bit. I don’t know if there are tune-up fights in the lightweight division, but I don’t know about Bobby Green.”
If this is the end for Iaquinta, while he may have regrets about his most recent opponent, Iaquinta can certainly be proud of everything he has accomplished in the UFC up to this point. Despite never having gold wrapped around his waist, “Raging” Al went five rounds with the great Khabib Nurmagomedov for the vacant belt and faced the best of the best in the promotion across his decade on its roster.
Do you think Al Iaquinta should have returned to the Octagon against a lesser opponent in 2021?