When arguably the greatest UFC prospect called, Artem Lobov was the only one man enough to pick up
The UFC could do with more warriors like Artem Lobov.
Artem Lobov is one of those increasingly rare figures in this money fight era. While the majority of fighters are looking to book that favourable match-up that gets them closer to a title shot, 'The Russian Hammer' has just one goal in mind. He wants to fight.
This mindset has been instilled in him since day one. When he lost his professional debut, he was back in the cage a few months later. After suffering three consecutive losses early in his career, he quickly got back in there to add another entry to the win column. If there wasn't a fight available in his natural weight class, he took lightweight and catchweight bouts.
When a fight against perpetual UFC contender Cub Swanson was offered, Lobov didn't hesitate to accept it. Swanson was in the form of his life and although he was dominant in victory, Lobov proved a lot of doubters wrong by winning a round and lasting until the final buzzer sounded in a five-round main event.
Decent fight. Lobov isn't a bad fighter, just limited. But he fought up to that limit very admirably. Hat tip to both.
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) April 23, 2017
While the target on Lobov's back appears to never shrink because of his association with Conor McGregor, the one on his compatriot Zabit Magomedsharipov couldn't be smaller. The Dagestani came into the UFC as a 26-year-old off on an eight-fight win-streak and tons of hype behind him. When Mark Henry started learning Russian just to coach him, it was obvious that he was something special.
After submitting Mike Santiago in his promotional debut, he called out Lobov, who immediately accepted the offer. The fight wasn't booked because Lobov was already locked into a bout against Andre Fili, which he would go onto lose.
Magomedsharipov soundly defeated Sheymon Moraes in his sophomore UFC bout and has been struggling to find a dance partner since. A ranked opponent would make sense for his next contest, but he appears to be having a hard time finding one.
— Ahmar Khan (@AhmarSKhan) November 25, 2017
According to the Dagestani, the promotion were trying to get him on the UFC 222 PPV headlined by Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov. He claims that four opponents turned him down - Myles Jury, Arnold Allen, Yair Rodriguez and Andre Fili.
The one guy who didn't was Lobov. Although, Magomedsharipov claims that his team ultimately passed on the fight. He meant no disrespect by calling these fighters out. He only made it public to show how much he wants another fight.
I only had 2 fights in @ufc and I had 5 opponents turn me down for April 7th including @FuryJury @Arnoldbfa @panteraufc @TouchyFili the only guy who accept is @RusHammerMMA but his team decline. No disrespect to none I just want to fight. Please Call @seanshelby @arielhelwani
— ZabitMagomedsharipov (@zabit_mma) February 12, 2018
Even on a two-fight losing-streak, Lobov was willing to step up and take a risk few were willing to take. For this alone, he's worth his place in the promotion. The man's a warrior. He'll fight anyone.