Artem Lobov “I want to be remembered as one of those who was never in a boring fight”

The highly anticipated UFC 223 is just a mere two weeks away, with a combustible headliner of Tony Ferguson versus Khabib Nurmagomedov in the lightweight division. The winner ultimately getting the shot at the money fight; that being against one Conor McGregor.

Also featuring on the card in the featherweight division is one of Conor’s most popular teammates in Artem Lobov (13-14) as he locks horns with Alex Caceres (13-11). Thus far, Artem’s camp has progressed as planned. With the addition of championship level athletes, Lobov feels he has the tools to isolate his opposition.

“Camp has been great,” Lobov enthused. “I’ve had a range of different sparring partners for this fight; one of them being a European taekwondo champion and a very good amateur boxer from Owen Roddy’s gym. It’s always good to spar new bodies. You get that a little bit of the feeling in you that you get on fight night.”

In recent time, Lobov’s home at SBG Dublin has come unstuck on the losing end of results. Despite the unfortunate sequence of events, Artem believes morale is still at a high in the facility and, with a win on April 7th, it can provide a step toward the right direction.

“When you operate in a competitive environment, losses are bound to happen,” ‘The Russian Hammer’ explained. “It’s part of the game. You can look at some of the guys’ records who operate in this environment; Jeremy Stephens, for instance. His UFC record is something like thirteen wins and thirteen losses and he’s a top five guy in his division right now.

“I know I talk a lot about record padding but it does give you a very skewed impression of the way things are in the fight world. If there was no record padding, people would be a lot more accepting of the losses and take it much easier like they do in other sports like football and rugby. A loss isn’t the be all, end all. Nobody wants to lose, but you see a team in football lose and it’s no problem. They’re still in there, making money and everything is fine. Whereas in MMA, if for some reason you lose two fights in a row, everybody is talking about retirement. It’s crazy to me.

“Overall, the gym is still in good spirits. We’ve had mixed results, but I think, overall, the results have mostly been positive. We don’t need any motivation or morale boost with my win and I certainly do not. I’m always prepared to kill and ready to die. Those are not just words when I say them. I truly mean that.

“Grinding someone down, holding them for fifteen minutes – that’s just not me. No matter how tired we are, I couldn’t hold someone there. I’d have to let go and let my shots fly. I want exciting fights. I want fans on their feet screaming and I want to be remembered as one of those who was never in a boring fight.”

If there’s any one thing you cannot put on Artem, it’s record padding. From before the ‘Russian Hammer’ nicknamed ruled strong as a moniker, Lobov had made a name for himself on the domestic circuit as the prospect killer. Having never been one to shy from tough opposition, it’s fairly easy to see how taking an easy fight can get under the skin of Lobov.

“People shouldn’t be padding records,” Artem asserted. “Many do it in MMA to gain experience, but there’s no excuse for it in a sport like boxing. You see guys who have just come out of the Olympics – some of them medalling, having had over three hundred boxing matches, turning professional and fighting guys who have no business being in there with them. Some of the opposition are not even fighters. They’re cabbages, people off the street. There is no excuse for it in my eyes.

“People pay money to come and see these fights. If you’d paid money to go see Michael Jackson and there was a fucking karaoke on instead of him singing, would you be happy with that? No, you wouldn’t.”

As aforementioned, Lobov’s next test in the form of Caceres is one that the former feels very ready for. Coming off two losses in a row, Artem aims for the latter to be his way to get back on track.

“Alex is a very unorthodox fighter. He’s a very unusual striker which makes it hard to prepare for as it’s not easy to find sparring partners who can imitate him well, but it’s something that I’m used to. I take the best guys on offer and go out there and get at it. I feel I have enough experience to be able to figure him out in three rounds.

“I know he wrestles a good bit now as well, especially after being on the losing end of a few decisions. I feel he will want to be on the safe side and knows how well the takedowns score. He used to fight at bantamweight, which means he’s probably going to be on the smaller side of our division, so that gives me the confidence to know I’ll be able to stop him. I’ll be too big and strong for him to be able to take me down.”

“I have a game plan set, but my plan doesn’t change much from fight to fight. I want to hurt them. I want to put my hands on them. I have a specific set of instructions from John Kavanagh and Owen Roddy – all of my coaches and I look forward to executing it.”

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