Al Iaquinta’s long-awaited UFC return will take place on April 22 at #UFCNashville, but he will be walking into the Octagon this weekend with a very different perspective.
Having felt first-hand the wear and tear the sport has on his body following a period on the sidelines after knee surgery, Iaquinta said he couldn’t bring himself to sign a fight contract to face Thiago Alves at UFC 205 for the money on the table.
Speaking exclusively to Champions.co earlier this week, Iaquinta explained that he was excited to be back facing Diego Sanchez at #UFCNashville, but that not everything had been sorted.
“Nothing really got sorted out,” Iaquinta said. “It sucks, but hey, this is going to be a good time. It's not every day you get to fight Diego Sanchez. He's a legend of the sport and Nashville is supposed to be a cool place. I'm excited to be back to doing what I love."
Iaquinta went on to explain that it was the host city Nashville that convinced him that the fight with Sanchez was worth taking. Having been told good things about the capital of Tennessee, Iaquinta is looking forward to going there and enjoying what the city has to offer after his fight.
“I’m doing this for me and I just want to fight," Iaquinta said. "I get to collect some change whilst I’m there and I get a free flight to Nashville. I just want to go to Nashville and check it out. Everyone I tell that I’m going to Nashville says it’s sick and tells me that I have to stay after and hang out there because it’s a great place with the music history and everything.”
During his time away from the Octagon, Iaquinta pursued other ventures and began working as a real estate agent in the Long Island area. With his fingers now in other pies, Iaquinta has a renewed perspective on his fighting career and says he’s now fighting for the sake of enjoyment.
“My real estate business has really taken off and that allows me a little bit of time to get some training in,” Iaquinta said. “I’m being smart now. I know if I have an injury I’ve got something else. This is just me having fun now and doing what I want to do. Hopefully it all turns out good, but if not, it’s not like I depend on it.”
Whether Iaquinta’s new attitude pays dividends remains to be seen, but no doubt his commitment to the sport will be put to the ultimate test when he steps in the Octagon with Diego Sanchez on April 22.