Artem Lobov took time out of his busy UFC Gdansk preparation schedule to discuss his long-time sparring partner Conor McGregor’s future.
Artem Lobov will make his long-awaited return to the UFC octagon this weekend at UFC Gdansk as he takes on Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili in a fight that could see either man stake their claim to a top-15 opponent next time around.
Lobov’s record both inside and outside of the UFC has been discussed at enough length at this stage but in his past two or three showings, he has found himself recapturing the type of form that saw him reach the Ultimate Fighter finales during his destructive run on the show.
Sure, two decision-wins over Teruto Ishihara and promotional newcomer Chris Avila won’t exactly get you a title-shot but in both of those fights and his most recent loss to top-5 145lb-er Cub Swanson, ‘the Russian Hammer’ – at the very least, proved that he deserves to be in there with the best.
So now, despite having a potentially massive opportunity on his horizon, Artem still was willing to take questions about his superstar-sparring partner Conor McGregor, a man who many have been frustrated with of late, something that is in part due to the constantly-swirling rumours surrounding big-money fights between him and Nate Diaz and boxing’s Paulie Malignaggi.
And though Conor has given us very little in the way of an idea of what he plans to do next, Lobov, in an interview with Karyn Bryant, seemed happy to give us some insight and in truth, he seemed pretty certain about McGregor’s next move.
“In my eyes, of course he’s going to fight Tony. Why wouldn’t he fight Tony? His belt is on the line now. This guy has this fake belt around his waist. Conor wants to take that away by all means. In my eyes, one hundred percent he’s going to fight Tony. Who else is he going to fight?
“Why wouldn’t he fight Tony? Why wouldn’t he defend that belt? That belt means a lot to Conor. He’s dreamed since a very, very long time ago of having that belt. So it’s going to be damn, damn hard to try and take that belt, he’s going to be defending that belt for a long time.
“Tony is a good fighter, for sure, I mean he’s no pussy. He fights, that’s for sure. But just watching his fights, he does take one shot too many in there. It might be ok against anyone else, but against Conor it’s not going to go well for him. Even against Barboza, he had to start diving for those takedowns.
“I feel like Conor is a lot more powerful than Barboza, a lot more precise. He’s got the record to prove that, I feel it might be an early night for Barboza.”
That seems pretty conclusive, doesn’t it? I mean, sure, Conor’s plans are his own and he has been known to throw the odd curveball or two, but for those who were perhaps worried that he didn’t respect the responsibility that comes with winning a championship belt, perhaps these words from the ‘Russian Hammer’ will give you some valuable piece of mind.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena