UFC's Al Iaquinta says he's rooting for Khabib Nurmagomedov to beat the dog snot out of Conor McGregor in the 1st or 2nd round ... because it'll make his fight with Khabib look more impressive!
Remember, Al stepped in and fought Khabib back in April at UFC 223 on a day's notice ... and survived all 5 rounds with the Dagestani superstar.
Despite the loss, Al clearly respects Khabib -- and HATES Conor -- and tells TMZ Sports he's hoping his former opponent smashes Conor like a chump.
"I'm just hoping Khabib goes out there and whoops his ass, makes it look good, finishes him in like the 1st or 2nd round ... and makes me look like a superstar!"
Al says his goal is to get a rematch with Khabib to prove he can hang (and beat) the best fighters in the world.
That said ... we asked Al if he had any advice for Conor on how to fight Khabib successfully at UFC 229 on Oct. 6 -- and Al offers up a real fight plan.