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Midnight Mania! Al Iaquinta Eyeing Late Summer Tango With Justin Gaethje

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It’s hard to make a bad fight at lightweight. The UFC’s deepest division is brimming with scintillating talent- even the guys coming off losses are easy to get excited about. No two fighters represent that more than Justin Gaethje and ‘Raging’ Al Iaquinta. On his podcast, Iaquinta hinted that he might be in talks with the UFC to face Gaethje this summer. He was asked about a possible matchup with Gaethje, and his response indicated that the idea was not new to him. Transcript via MMAJunkie.com:

“We’re hoping for sometime in August,” Iaquinta said. “August, September. I think (the UFC) wanted it to be sooner, but that guy needs a rest. I was looking out for his health with that one. He needs a break for a minute. If it goes down the way it’s supposed to, it’ll be a good fight, a tough fight.”

It’s peak Al to say that he’s looking out for Gaethje’s health by pushing a potential matchup back to late summer. But is the fight actually being discussed? “Little bit”, was all Al would say.

It would be a near-perfect matchup for Gaethje, and one fans would have an easy time getting behind. Iaquinta had won five straight before his high-profile decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov; Gaethje is on the most exciting two-fight skid in UFC history, coming agonizingly close to beating Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez before going out on his shield in both fights. He needs a step back, but not too far back; someone that keeps him relevant with a win, and doesn’t consign him to the dust-bin with a loss. Iaquinta is in a similar space; his short-notice loss to Nurmagomedov may have dampened any title hopes, but he hung tough with the Russian for all five rounds. Both men are known for wanting to throw hands in the pocket in a fan-friendly manner; neither are known for meticulous risk avoidance.

Of course, it’s hard to make a bad fight at lightweight; Edson Barboza’s manager has also thrown his hat in the ring for a fight with Gaethje.


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