Artem Lobov gave a very intimate interview recently where he discussed several topics that have been surrounding him in recent times, including his upcoming match-up with Cub Swanson and his relationship with Conor McGregor.
‘The Russian Hammer’ was granted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity recently when he was booked to take on the world’s No. 4-ranked featherweight Cub Swanson despite his own 2-2 record in the UFC.
Lobov and Swanson traded vicious barbs over Twitter earlier this year and despite having a dismissive attitude at first, Cub gradually started to warm to the idea of facing the SBG Ireland man inside the octagon. The UFC took note of the buzz surrounding their slowly-bubbling rivalry and wasted no time in getting the bout signed, and now the pair are scheduled to meet on April 22 over five rounds in the main event of UFC Fight Night 108.
Artem, who is a long-time training partner of the UFC’s lightweight champion Conor McGregor, appeared on the Toe-2-Toe podcast with Brian Stann to discuss his thoughts on his upcoming fight, his opponent’s chin and how the entire world is making the mistake of underestimating his abilities.
“You know Cub’s been in many wars and he’s been great to watch but, of course, it takes its toll. After a fight like that [his Fight of the Year with Doo-ho Choi at UFC 206] he definitely did a lot of damage and fighting a guy like me after that might not be the best idea. So when I saw that fight I thought it would be a great fight, you know, he gets caught a lot.
“He is very wild, which makes for an entertaining fight but I can see avenues there that I can explore and I feel that I can knock him out. So I called for it and here we are.”
A lot of people have, of course, pointed to the fact that Lobov’s connections to McGregor have played a massive part in him skipping the queue and getting himself into a contender fight like this, and while Artem went on to acknowledge that, he also explained the key role he has played in the development of the former-dual-weight world champion.
“One of the things that kind of helped me to get a lot of things in the UFC – and I’m not going to deny it – is the fact that I was Conor’s training partner.
“How did I become Conor McGregor’s sparring partner? People often say that, but do you see anyone else who is his sparring partner? No, because there’s only me. You know, what you see on TV – him knocking guys out – that’s exactly how it is. It’s not easy sparring Conor McGregor. He’s always wanted to spar and not many people put their hands up. More often than not, no one put their hand up. But I was always there.
“Day after day, no matter how sore I was, no matter how bad I got hurt, I always came back for more and eventually, there was no one else left. There was only me. So when Conor needed someone to go corner him or go warm him up, there was no one else left. There was just me. I was the only one who survived because I was the toughest.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena