"I thought I was prepared" - Al Iaquinta reveals why he didn't want to give Khabib Nurmagomedov respect in title fight at UFC 223

Al Iaquinta (left) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (right) [Image credits: @aliaquinta and @khabib_nurmagomedov on Instagram]
Al Iaquinta (left) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (right) [Image credits: @aliaquinta and @khabib_nurmagomedov on Instagram]
Anil Sharma

Al Iaquinta has reflected on his championship fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223.

'Raging Al' recently sat down for an interview with RT Sport MMA. He discussed several things including his upcoming fight at UFC 268 and the possibility of a move down to featherweight.

At one point, the conversation steered in the direction of Iaquinta's title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov in April 2018. Speaking about his game plan heading into the fight, the 34-year-old said he tried not to give respect to the Dagestani fighter's grappling skills in the bout:

"I tried not to have respect. I tried to go in there with no respect for his [Khabib Nurmagomedov's] wrestling. I thought that I was prepared through my years of wrestling and he shot a low single and he latched on to that leg and got me down right at the beginning and then kind of wore me out. It was a lot of pressure. Those first two rounds, he was on top of me and by the time I was able to keep it on the feet, I was a step behind him and always worried about the takedown. So, I mean, there's a reason why he's undefeated, undisputed and one of the greatest if not the greatest to ever do it," said Al Iaquinta.

You can watch the full interview below:

Al Iaquinta is scheduled to take on Bobby Green at UFC 268. The 34-year-old is currently on a two-fight skid in the UFC.

Khabib Nurmagomedov's championship run in the UFC started at UFC 223

It was the week when no fighters were found in lightweight division, but Al Iquinta. I was offered five different top ranked opponents, but all of the squeezed out with different excuses.
At that moment I was 25:0 , with 9:0 in UFC.

Al Iaquinta stepped up on short notice to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223. 'The Eagle' overwhelmed 'Raging Al' with his elite wrestling skills and won a unanimous decision victory.

From there began the Dagestani fighter's journey as a UFC champion. Nurmagomedov successfully defended his title three times against Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje respectively

After his win over Gaethje at UFC 254, 'The Eagle' announced his retirement from the sport of MMA.

After Khabib, Conor and Jon Jones, it's Islam, O'Malley and Izzy. Follow them here!

Edited by Jack Cunningham
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