In the wake of the biggest win of Al Iaquinta’s career, his head coach Ray Longo, has revealed Conor McGregor is next on his personal wish list.
Iaquinta faced Kevin Lee in a rematch in the main event of UFC on Fox 31 on Saturday and showcased his impressive all-round game in securing a unanimous decision victory over five rounds. “Raging Al” has now won six of his last seven fights with the sole loss coming earlier this year against undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov on one day’s notice.
Longo was a guest on a recent episode of “The MMA Hour” and told host Luke Thomas he wants his fighter to face off against Irish superstar Conor McGregor next. While Longo is hardly alone in calling for the enormous payday that comes with a McGregor matchup, he did weigh in on the current lightweight title picture, offering reasons that the fight would make competitive as well as financial sense.
“I’d really like to see him fight Conor next,” Longo said. “I don’t think Conor deserves the Khabib [Nurmagomedov] rematch at all. It looks like they’re going to give [Tony] Ferguson Khabib, which is 100-percent fair. That makes fair sense, not ‘everything is fair’ sense, it’s money sense.
“But I’d like to see Al get a big money fight against a great guy who can bring a lot of eyeballs to pay-per-view. I think that would be great. I think Al deserves it and I think that’s a great matchup. I’d love to see it and I’d love to be a part of it.”
Immediately afterwards, Longo half-jokingly retracted the statement pondering what type of information the trash-talking McGregor would dig up on both Iaquinta and himself if the fight went ahead.
“I think I take that back, I don’t even think I want that in my life,” Longo said. “I think I’d rather run for political office than have that guy researching, doing my background checks. But I don’t think Al gives a shit. I think it’s all good. I think Conor knows who he can get away with that shit with and who he can’t, he’s a street kid. I think that will be to no avail and that’s all good stuff.
“It’s entertainment at the end of the day, I don’t take anything personal at this point. Al just wants to fight. It’s almost like what he did with Kevin Lee. Same Al. That’s what you want to say? Now’s your time to do it. It’s put up or shut up.”
After the fight on Saturday night, Iaquinta mentioned Tony Ferguson as a potential match up and while Longo agrees with Iaquinta, he believe “El Cucuy” may be selected instead to fight Nurmagomedov for the title next, in a rebooking of a fight that has now been cancelled four times.
“That’s a great fight. I got Ferguson up there,” Longo said. “Ferguson is unbelievable, so that’s a great challenge for Al, but I think Ferguson does deserve the fight with Khabib. I’m just going based on that.
“Al’s going to take any fight, I think he deserves a big fight for sure either way it goes. I think Ferguson, the Khabib fight is the way to go because Ferguson, what else can that guy do in the division? I think it’s only fair to give him the title fight. But if it has to be Al for some reason then that’s fine, that’s great.”