Khabib Nurmagomedov's training partner really wants to fight Artem Lobov
As per usual, Artem Lobov has a huge target on his back.
When Dana White confirmed that Artem Lobov wasn't cut from the UFC, call-outs were inevitable. 'The Russian Hammer's association with Conor McGregor means he will be a desirable match-up for anyone looking to make a name for themselves in the sport.
Interestingly, a man who was present for the original confrontation that supposedly antagonised McGregor into storming the hotel carpark with his posse, wants to fight Lobov next.
'He should be cu.... fighting my guy!'
Unsurprisingly, one of the loudest voices calling for Lobov to be cut over the incident is actually pushing for the SBG star to fight his client. Ali Abdelaziz, who represents Nurmagomedov, is supporting his fighter Zubaira Tukhugov in his attempt to lure Lobov into a scrap.
Tukhugov, who trains at the American Kickboxing Academy with Nurmagomedov, was in the hotel lobby when the now-lightweight champion had that heated encounter with Lobov. This isn't the first time the Chechen has called out Lobov either. He told BOSTANOF in April that he's had Lobov in his sights for a while. (translation via Sherdog user shoorik1987)
"About two years ago, I myself came to UFC and asked for a fight against Lobov in Ireland. They didn’t give it to me. I didn’t really want to go around giving interviews and talk about him, but since you asked I will say my opinion. I strongly await this moment. Not only today but for a long time. If I am offered this fight, I will accept it with pleasure and fight him."
A few things to note about Tukhugov (14-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC). Firstly, he more than likely needs a good payday. He told Lastround.ru in 2016 that he didn't turn a profit from his first three UFC fights.
"I've never in my life not been financially blank after a fight. In the first fight, I was in the red. In the second fight, I went to zero. Then the third was in the red for three thousand dollars. I'm trying to raise my name and my people. This is my goal, so I fight. I have a dream."
Considering he hasn't fought since dropping a split decision (no win bonus for Tukhugov) to Renato Moicano in May 2016, the likelihood is he really needs a payday. He's set to return from a two-year Usada suspension stemming from an out-of-competition test in September 2016. Tukhugov tested positive for the banned substance ostarine, a selective androgen receptor modulator. According to a statement from Usada, arbitration proceedings set him back a $10,000.