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Al Iaquinta to Conor McGregor: 'What's your excuse' on not going five rounds?

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UFC lightweight Al Iaquinta is always down to roast the opposition on Twitter, but he also appreciates a good response.

When former two-division champ Conor McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) didn’t give him one after a recent rant, he was a little disappointed.

“It’s not, ‘Who the fook is that guy?’ That’s what I was hoping for,” Iaquinta (14-4-1 MMA, 9-3 UFC) told MMAjunkie Radio.

McGregor targeted famed MMA coach Firas Zahabi and UFC commentator Joe Rogan for saying Iaquinta fared better against UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov. He called Zahabi a “twerp” who hadn’t fought and “hit a clock for a living.” Zahabi, who also predicted featherweight champ Max Holloway would defeat McGregor in a rematch, responded that the observation wasn’t personal and thanked the ex-champ for listening to his podcast.

For the record, Iaquinta agrees with Zahabi and Rogan. The results in the octagon speak for themselves.

“I took a five-round fight on a three-round camp, and I went the distance,” he said. “What’s his excuse? He looked way more tired in the third than I was in the fifth, and I didn’t train for five. That says a lot.”

Ultimately, what McGregor and Zahabi think is of little consequence to Iaquinta’s career right now. He’s rebuilding his career after the short-notice setback against Nurmagomedov and recently picked up another win over Kevin Lee. Surely, he’d like to fight McGregor and put an ex-champ on his resume (along with a huge paycheck for his effort). But he’s mostly just an observer when it comes to the Irish star’s career, and what he’s seen lately hasn’t impressed him.

“I was a big fan, but I think he’s getting a little out of control now,” Iaquinta said. “I thought he was the guy that would kind of do what he did but stay true to the martial arts. It seemed like, in the beginning, he was really kind of like the martial way, do the right thing, respect your fellow competitors, ‘we’re all in this’ kind of thing. His goal set out to be the best, and now that he is the best and he’s got a lot of money. I just think he’s a little out of control.”

Iaquinta, who’s currently unbooked for his next fight, cites McGregor’s infamous bus attack at UFC 223 as one example of the fighter flying off the handle. But, of course, there are plenty more of them in recent years.

Like McGregor, Iaquinta is an obvious proponent of verbal warfare leading up to a fight. The difference, however, is his willingness to escalate from words to physical actions.

“It definitely draws people in,” he said. “But I think sometimes it goes a little too far. You can be a good entertainer without … it was a little overboard. Someone could’ve seriously got injured, somebody that had nothing to do with anything. There was people on that bus, UFC employees, freaking bus drive who probably doesn’t know what the hell is going on.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts live Monday-Friday at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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