Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov has made a call for a step up in competition following his UFC Belfast victory over Teruto Ishihara and, if I’m honest, the opponents he has in mind have me sold on the idea already.
Lobov, who competed in 2015’s edition of the Ultimate Fighter, scored the season’s only KO victories, knocking out his three opponents before being dominated by jiu-jitsu ace Ryan Hall in the season finale.
His time in the UFC since then has seen him go 2-2, losing his first pair of bouts before defeating both the aforementioned Ishihara and Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu prospect Chris Avila at UFC 202. And though his record (13-12-1) would suggest a massive level of inconsistency, Lobov – just like his SBG teammate Conor McGregor – prides himself on his willingness to fight, no matter what the circumstances.
On Saturday, the hard-handed featherweight spoke to Peter Carroll of Severe MMA in an exclusive interview and gave us all an insight into his own personal philosophy on fighting as well as his impressions of the Ultimate Fighting Championship as a whole since his initiation into its ranks.
“I’ve always prided myself on fighting anyone, and back when I was on the European scene I thought that everyone in the UFC was the same way. Now that I’m in the UFC and I’m watching all the greatest fighters in the world compete, I’m quickly beginning to realize that there are not that many guys that want to fight.
“Everyone wants the money, everyone wants a good life, but they don’t want to fight. You see it often when a guy gets a win. You don’t see them for a while because they want to ride the wave of the win and not think about fighting. I’m not like that at all. I love fighting, I got into the sport because I love fighting and I want to do it as often as I can.”
With no opponent scheduled for him right now, Lobov went on to mark himself as available for the UFC’s upcoming return to London in March and, more specifically, used the opportunity to call out a pair of featherweights who put on one of the best fights of 2016 at UFC 206 last month.
“Cub Swanson or ‘The Korean Superboy’ would be a really good fight. Their last fight was great and I really think I match up well against either of those guys. I really think that would be a good one. With Cub especially, I think that would be a very big fight for London. I think the fans would like to see me in there with ‘The Korean Superboy’ in London as well.”
Doo-ho “The Korean Superboy” Choi and Cub Swanson’s ‘Fight of the Night’ contest at the aforementioned UFC 206 will probably go down as one of the most electric match-ups the promotion has ever seen. Both guys repeatedly exchanged the kind of shots that would have KO’d lesser men but despite three brutal rounds, it was a fight that somehow escaped a stoppage and was left to the judges, who scored the bout in favour of the veteran Swanson.
It seems unlikely that either man would be cleared to fight as early as March, but despite that, it’s not hard to see the fun in either of these hypothetical match-ups so watch this space in case the UFC do choose to make it a reality at some point over the coming year.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena