An absolute lightweight barn burner is headed our way as #10 ranked contender ‘Raging’ All Iaquinta takes on #7 ranked Justin ‘the Highlight’ Gaethje. The bout did faced some hurdles as per the negotiations are concerned, but now that it is official, both the fighters would look to get back on winning ways.
Gaethje (18-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has had a shaky UFC run after an impressive start however all his three bouts have been ‘Fight of the Year’ candidates and hence Iaquinta is well aware of the stern test ahead.
“We got a tough task ahead of us,” Iaquinta said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Justin Gaethje is no joke. That guy is about a round-and-a-half of hell. I gotta be ready for a round-and-a-half of absolute hell, then he starts slowing down about midway through the second round. But holy sh*t, that first round. We gotta sit, we gotta talk with (coach) Ray (Longo), get a gameplan going. This is good.
“He needs time off. That’s another advantage for me. He needs a break. I’ve had a break. I’ve been on break. I’m good, you know? Took a couple weeks off after Khabib (Nurmagomedov) just to head up everything, but, I don’t know, I think it’s not a good fight for him. I don’t think it’s a good one for him. I don’t know, take a little time, take a little time to relax [your] chin. I don’t know, you need time. He needs time.”
The fight marks a relatively quick turnaround for Gaethje after his TKO loss against Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fox 29 in April whereas Iaquinta suffered a decision loss against Khabib Nurmagomedov after the turn of events at UFC 223 in March.
“I think [his style has] come back to haunt him more in the UFC than not,” Iaquinta said. “That’s like a coin toss of a style. You just go kamikaze, let’s go. I think I’m just more tactical, more gamplan-oriented. I just feel like, I don’t know — I don’t know if there’s a gameplan going into his fights. Does his coach talk to him about a gameplan, like, ‘This is what you’re going to do?’ Because he does the same thing every fight. There’s no difference compared to the opponents he fights, so it’s just, you’ve got to make little adjustments.
“At this level, there has to be those little adjustments. That’s the adjustment that Eddie Alvarez made, that’s the adjustment that Dustin Poirier made. You make adjustments at this level, you’re gonna win, and you’ve got to make the right adjustments at the right time. He’s got to realize. And he’s not learning anything between those fights and these fights. So I’ve gotta just show that I’m on that level. I’m better than that. I’m way better than that. So I think it’s perfect. It’s a perfect fight.”
“He fights like a freaking tough guy, but you know what? It comes to a point where you can’t do that anymore. Not saying that he can’t anymore. He will. He’s gonna. Like I said, it’s gonna be a round-and-a-half that’s just outta control, but I think it’s a good fight at the right time. I think it’s good. I think we’re right where we want to be. This is what I want to do, man. This is where I want to be: Main event, Justin Gaethje, guy is tough as nails but he’s not unbeatable. He’s 1-2 in the UFC, so I think it’s — everyone’s gonna see where I’m at. I’m gonna make it look better than Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier did, absolutely.”