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Al Iaquinta believes he can dethrone Khabib in rematch with a full camp

Al Iaquinta sees a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov going differently, especially if he gets to have a full training camp.

UFC 223: Nurmagomedov v Iaquinta Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

Al Iaquinta fought the biggest fight of his career at UFC 223 in April 2018 when he stepped in as a late replacement opponent for Khabib Nurmagomedov with the then vacant 155-pound title on the line. “Ragin’ Al” lost via unanimous decision at the time, but believes it will be the exact different outcome if he is given a chance to run it back.

“I beat him,” Iaquinta said of Khabib during a recent guesting on Radio. “Not just like try to land a punch, you know? I’d go out there and I’d wrestle. I’d really just go for it more. I feel like I was a little reserved. The five rounds, I had never even really gone five rounds, trained for five rounds, so that was in the back of my head.

“I didn’t really want to exert myself like crazy because I had been sparring three rounds, and at the end of the three rounds I was getting pretty exhausted,” he added. “It was uncharted territory. Now, five rounds is to my advantage. The longer the fight goes, the better it is for me. I think that it’ll be an advantage now rather than, being five rounds that fight [with Nurmagomedov], it was a little bit of a disadvantage.”

Iaquinta was scheduled for a three-round fight against Paul Felder for that same night, but was cancelled due to the multiple changes that happened in the card. For him, not being able to train for a five-rounder may have played a big role in his performance.

“If I had even just like five weeks to prepare,” he said. “But if you gave me a 10-week camp for a Khabib fight, and I had the time to prepare for him, for his style, prepare my mind…

“Obviously he would be doing the same thing, but I think that I would make way more of an improvement than he would.”

Iaquinta is slated to headline the UFC’s upcoming event in Ottawa, Canada. And if he were running things, he already laid out a few scenarios, which involves Conor McGregor.

“If I was running the show, I’d beat Cerrone, and then I’d give myself a title shot,” Iaquinta said. “You told me I’m running the show, so it’s my show, you know?”

“If I was running the show, I’d put [Conor] McGregor in there with Brock Lesnar,” he added.

UFC Ottawa is scheduled to take place on May 4th.

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