Artem Lobov considered forgetting his “UFC Dream” after TUF exit

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Artem Lobov was given a second chance on TUF 22 after Conor McGregor was given the opportunity to bring back one unsuccessful fighter from the premiere’s elimination rounds.

‘The Russian Hammer’ was unlucky not to get the opportunity to fight a third round against Mehdi Baghdad after their exciting tussle in the elimination stages, as he lost out to the Frenchman via decision.

Waiting three days before he knew he would be back on the season, Lobov revealed that the low he felt after coming up short in the Baghdad bout forced him to contemplate his future in the sport.

“When all the fights were over I spoke to Dana and he said that my fight was amazing, it was a great performance and that I still might have a chance to come back in because two of the guys from Team Europe had picked up injuries,” he said.

“Later on I found out that their injuries weren’t serious enough to rule them out, as far as I knew I was out so I went back to the Mac Mansion. I got back on the Friday and then for the whole weekend I thought I wasn’t coming back.

“I didn’t know what to do, I was thinking about going back to the bank and forgetting my UFC dream. You know yourself, when you lose a fight you can get very low, a million things will go through your head and none of them are positive. I was very upset.

“Then, only on Monday, I found out I would be back. I didn’t know the details of how I would get back in, I didn’t even know I was going to be the extra guy in the house until I got back in there. I was over the moon, I was so happy to be back in the house. I knew then that this was it, it was my second shot so I wanted to make it count.”

Despite McGregor reassuring him that he could still contribute as a coach for Team Europe, Lobov maintained that competing on the series was always his main focus.

“Conor told me not to worry and that he would bring me back as a coach. I didn’t care at that point, I lost the fight so that option didn’t completely satisfy me. Yeah, ok, I get to make a bit of money or whatever, but that wasn’t what I wanted to do.”

Back home in Dublin, Lobov attended BAMMA 22 last weekend at the 3 Arena. His teammate Paul Byrne added to impressive unbeaten record to go 6-0 in professional competition with a head kick victory over Conor Cooke, and Lobov believes the Louth man is ready for a step-up in competition.

While Lobov is certain that Byrne could challenge some of the UFC’s 185ers straightaway, he outlined that the middleweight could benefit from some more time training at SBG before taking on fighters at the top of the bracket.

He said: “I think he’s definitely ready, if you look at UFC, obviously it’s the best guys in the world but there is also a lot of riff-raff in there. He could certainly put away a lot of them guys. I think for him to really challenge the top tier he probably needs a couple of more fights and maybe another year of training at SBG because he only joined us a little while ago.

“There is no reason why he can’t go in and give the lower level guys in the UFC a lot of trouble right now. But, if you give him another year, he will be able to challenge the top guys.”

Lobov also claimed that one of BAMMA 22’s successful debutants, Dylan Tuke, could already beat some of the fighters in the UFC’s rankings at bantamweight.

“As soon as Dylan Tuke started in SBG I said to John to keep an eye on him. I just immediately thought that he was going to be big. Straightaway I thought he was going to be a star. He’s an unbelievable fighter. He might have only had one professional fight, but he could easily go into the UFC now and destroy some of the top ten bantamweights in there. That’s how good he is.”

@PetesyCarroll

Photo via Dolly Clew

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.