We’re just a couple of hours away from Poland’s mid-afternoon UFC event, a place that some MMA fans claim Artem Lobov doesn’t belong. They come out of the woodwork every fight. Lobov will be taking on Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili. Despite the history between the two gyms, there wasn’t much trash talk. Actually, Fili recently opened up about his respect for Lobov and talked about the unforgiving fans who make the internet a mine field for fighters.
“I’ve been around him a lot more than other guys that I get picked to fight. There is no bad blood, though. There’s no disrespect. I don’t feel any negative emotion towards him as a person. He’s alright. He’s tough, he puts on exciting fights and he’s got a good chin – all these things make for an exciting fight. I’m just excited to get in there to let my hands go and get this win. He doesn’t have the best record, but he’s fought some of the best guys in the world. I think most of the people who talk about him not deserving to be in the UFC are guys who have never been in a cage and have fought for a living.”
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) October 20, 2017
“This is no disrespect to fans, but it’s hard for me to take things into consideration when the people that are saying he doesn’t deserve to be in there have never fought before. Most people wouldn’t get locked in a cage with a guy that wants to hurt them, knowing that their only option is to hurt him first. People can go live their whole lives avoiding a situation like that. For me, if you’ve never been in a situation like that, you have no right to tell someone whether a fighter is deserving of it or not when it’s what they do for a living every day. I’ve had people personally tell me to quit fighting, they’ve told me I’m a bum and they’ve told me that I should go kill myself when I’ve lost a fight. Then I’ve won my next fight and the same fan is tweeting me about how good of a job I did.” — Andrei Fili speaking to MMA Fighting.
Andrei Fili and Artem Lobov spent a lot of time around each other on The Ultimate Fighter 22, even almost exchanging blows during an altercation between both teams. filming a show together, even if you’re just on the peripheral of someone, you can learn a lot. Perhaps, some respect was earned there as well. These two fighters will throwdown to keep themselves alive in the featherweight rankings at UFC Gdansk, and they both deserve to be there.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/21/2017.