UFC featherweight Artem Lobov has made it clear that he will leave the promotion to pursue a fight with Team Khabib’s Zubaira Tukhugov, if necessary.
Lobov could well be fighting for his UFC career in Moncton this weekend as he takes on short-notice replacement Michael Johnson in the night’s co-main event.
Originally scheduled for a grudge match with Team Khabib’s Zubaira Tukhugov, the post-fight melee that followed UFC 229 caused Artem’s opponent to be pulled from the card.
Speaking to ESPN, Artem made it clear that he would go to desperate lengths to get his hands on Zubaira.
“If they cut him, I want to be gone as well. I will fight him in ACB, Bellator or any league he wants to do it. But I will get him.”
“It has to be done inside the Octagon. I want to look this man in the eyes, one-on-one. Once you’re inside that Octagon, it’s one-on-one. Your skill versus his skill. Your heart versus his heart. I want to test his heart in the Octagon. I want to see what he’s got.”
The fight was set up for UFC Moncton prior to the mess that followed the UFC 229 main-event but now, things have clearly been taken to another level entirely.
“I’m only doing this [the Johnson fight] because I was already ready to go and I haven’t fought in a year. For many reasons, I have to take this fight. But make no mistake, I want Zubaira.
“We need this win, but I don’t feel the pressure. To me, this is one step closer to getting Zubaira back. There is nothing else on my mind. That’s the only thing I can even think of. I’m not going to rest, I’m not going to sleep, until I get him back.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena