It still isn’t clear what’s going to come next for Conor McGregor, but Al Iaquinta is doing his part to make sure the former lightweight champ doesn’t lock up an immediate rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Due to the post-fight brawl that happened at UFC 229 in October, when McGregor was submitted by Nurmagmedov, it’s still not known when the lightweights will be cleared to fight again. The stars are expected to hear from the Nevada Commission on that front in early 2019.
Ever since the massive fight, however, there’s been considerable speculation as to what direction the UFC wants to go with the lightweight title. UFC President Dana White has said that Tony Ferguson should challenge Nurmagomedov next, and the champ has also acknowledged Ferguson and Dustin Poirier are the most deserving. But, since Nurmagomedov – McGregor 2 would do big business, yes, even though the latter was convincingly defeated, most folks concede an immediate rematch could still happen. In fact, depending on who you talk to, some people believe it will take place.
Well, following Iaquinta’s pivotal win over Kevin Lee earlier this month, ‘Raging Al’ has been driving for a big fight himself. While talking to TMZ Sports, however, Iaquinta had this to say (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“I don’t see him ever getting that title shot again, unless it’s just a money thing,” Iaquinta said.
“It’s a shame that he might get fights just because of the purse that he brings. Because he’s totally non-deserving of anything near a title shot. I don’t think he ever was.”
“Conor, he was talking about an immediate rematch, but I think he’s gotta fight somebody. And who else would he fight besides me?
“We have a common opponent in Khabib. I went to the distance on a day’s notice. He had all the time in the world to prepare and he tapped out?”
There you go. It should also be noted that Iaquinta’s not the only person who believes McGregor should never have been tapped for a title shot back in 2016. But, in this day and age, we’re certainly seeing more and more champs moving up and or down to fight for belts (although, McGregor was awarded a shot at the 155 crown without ever having defended the 145 belt first).
In terms of the immediate rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor, however, we will probably find out within a few weeks what the plan is there. The consensus is that Khabib is likely facing a much longer suspension than McGregor. So, that could very well mean we see the Irish star back in the Octagon somewhat soon, provided the UFC can table a bout he’s interested in. Could Iaquinta be that fight?