Artem Lobov talks about his TUF 22 bout with James Jenkins


Artem Lobov took his first win of this season’s The Ultimate Fighter with a stunning display that saw him score a first round TKO over Team USA hopeful, James Jenkins.

Irish MMA fans will no doubt be delighted to see ‘The Russian Hammer’, a veteran of the national and European scene, marching to the Octagon before the bout sporting a Russian flag in his left hand a tricolour in his right. According to the SBG man, representing both his country of birth and the country that moulded him into a fighter “is very important” to him.

“I’ve said I before, I was born as a person in Russia, but I was born as a fighter in Ireland,” he explained. “I truly feel that way. Ireland is where I’ve learned everything about fighting. My coach is Irish and all of my teammates are Irish. There are so many people here that have helped me achieve this goal, but of course, Russia is where I was born so I can’t forget that. Russia has a special place in my heart also. Representing both countries is very important to me.”

Lobov did not deny the fact that people thought the only reason he was given a second chance in the house was because of his friendship with Team Europe head coach, Conor McGregor. However, given his situation, Lobov claimed there was an extra incentive to perform well.

“I felt like I really had to make an impression after being brought back into the house. I said it to Dana after he told me he was going to bring me back, I said, ‘Look, I don’t think I deserve this. The way the world works, if you lose you should be out of these competitions.’ That’s how I felt, I lost so I left and that’s fair and square. So when he mentioned to me that I had a chance to comeback I said, ‘I will take this opportunity even though I don’t deserve it.’

“Once that opportunity was there I knew there was no way that I could mess around, I didn’t want a shitty decision. I wanted to make a statement, I wanted to prove to everyone that I belong in there. It was very important for me to get a KO in that fight,” he said.

Lobov arguably put on the best performance of his career against the 8-1 contestant, Jenkins. ‘The Russian Hammer’ displayed a more dynamic striking game than ever before as he switched stances and showcased the power in both his hands – cutting Jenkins with the left before eventually finishing him with the right.

The Dubliner looked more proficient than ever with his kicks too. Every time Jenkins looked to load up Lobov cracked him to the legs or to the body to stifle his momentum. As far as Lobov was concerned, the fight was his as soon as it started.

“I felt like it was my fight from the very beginning. I just knew the knockout was going to come very, very soon. I was a little bit disappointed when they stopped the bout for a second to check his cut. I thought they were going to stop it because of the cut and I hate when fights get stopped because of cuts because you didn’t really finish the guy. I mean, what is a cut? It’s nothing, really. I was a little bit worried because I was out there to get a proper KO.

“Throughout the whole fight I felt that he was slower than me, and I just knew that I would be able to knock him out.”

Considering the knockout itself, Lobov did highlight his own personal satisfaction with the execution of the technique. Having also undertaken a lot of media obligations for the series, he is glad that he can finally start talking about winning rather than being “the guy that lost but still gets into the house”.

“I really felt like it was a good one, I was moving back and I caught him when he was moving forward. That’s always the worst time to get caught as you could see from how the fight went. It was a good one, but I’m back in training now so I didn’t really have much time to dwell on it. I’m just glad they finally showed me winning a fight, so I can talk a little bit about that now. I don’t have to be the guy that lost and got back into the house without any wins.

“It was hard doing all of the media for the series because after the first two episodes everyone thought of me as that guy – the guy that lost but still gets into the house. I didn’t want to be that guy, but finally they’ve shown me winning a fight. Now I can talk about winning, I definitely prefer talking about wins over losses.”


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