“The More I Worked Out, the More Pain I Was In” – UFC Lightweight Al Iaquinta Opens Up About His Troubles

Published 10/07/2021, 11:42 AM EDT
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 14: Al Iaquinta poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at Fiserv Forum on December 14, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Al Iaquinta will return to the octagon after over two years at UFC 268 in November 2021.

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However, the past two years haven’t been the easiest for Iaquinta. Ever since his last fight at UFC 243 against Dan Hooker, which he lost via a unanimous decision, Iaquinta has been trying to recover from injuries. The coming of COVID also didn’t help him.

In February 2020, Al went up against Mike Perry in Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground 11 event in Portland, Oregon. Soon after the event, COVID hit, and Al’s training went down the drain, as he couldn’t go to the gym.

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Iaquinta, in an interview, said, “I’m on like a life sentence to physical therapy. As long as I do all my exercises, my body feels good. But with COVID and everything, the gym shut down, we were just training in the garage, and I kind of slacked on the physical therapy exercises. So, my whole body got out of whack.”

Al, during the COVID period, underwent multiple surgeries. While out of shape, he did some damage to his body, for which he got the surgery done. Iaquinta had also been suffering from a nose injury and got surgery done for that as well. It took him a long time to feel good again. He went to the UFC PI for a month, five-six days a week, which also didn’t help.

Al said, “The more I worked out, the more pain I was in. And it was just mentally I was in a really, really bad spot. I mean, that’s depressing, to just be in pain all the time. Wake up and go to work out, and you’re just in pain all the time.”

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Al Iaquinta – Journey so far

Al Iaquinta started his MMA career in 2009 in the Ring of Combat promotion. He was announced as one of the 32 lightweights fighters to take part in the first live season of The Ultimate Fighter. ‘Raging’ Al reached the finals and made his UFC debut against Michael Chiesa. He lost the fight via submission in the first round.

Ever since his first fight, Iaquinta has made steady progress in the UFC. His most significant opportunity came when he stepped in late to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the vacant UFC lightweight championship at UFC 223. Al weighed in at 155.2 lbs, making him ineligible to win the title even if he won the bout. He eventually ended up losing the fight via a unanimous decision after five rounds.

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Since the fight against Khabib, Al has fought three times, having lost two of them. Even though he has lost two of the fights, he has impressed everyone with his performances, even winning a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus for his fight against Donald Cerrone.

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Al Iaquinta will be going up against Bobby Green at UFC 268 and looking to end the two-fight losing streak at the event.

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How do you think Al Iaquinta will look in his return? Let us know in the comments!

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Arunaditya Aima

111 articles

Arunaditya is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Journalism from IIJNM, Arunaditya aspires to be an important voice in the world of MMA and interview the likes of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and other such superstars of the sport. He has followed the sport for over a decade and is an ardent fan of Georges St-Pierre, who he believes is the greatest of all time.

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