It wasn’t too long ago that the internet weighed in with criticisms that Artem Lobov didn’t belong in the UFC, or in a fight with Cub Swanson. That all quieted down when Conor McGregor’s right hand man took the fourth best featherweight in the world to a decision. He didn’t win the fight, but it was a moral victory. Now, Lobov will set his sights on Andre Fili for a showdown in Poland on October 21st. Needless to say Lobov is eager to get back to hurtling fists at the jaws of an opponent, especially Fili.
“On The Ultimate Fighter [Andre Fili and I] had a bit of a back and forth. Afterwards, I still wanted to fight him but he was like, ‘If he doesn’t win The Ultimate Fighter I don’t want to fight him. I was like, ‘Whatever’. I don’t chase them, I replace them. I left it but I got an opportunity to step in on short notice in July but obviously I was in the middle of the Mayweather camp with Conor [McGregor], so it was an obvious choice. I wasn’t going to sacrifice that just to fight Fili. Let’s be honest, it’s not that big of a fight — it’s a fight I could have gotten any weekend.”
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) August 18, 2017
“I’ve been dying to get my hands on [Andre Fili] though, it will be good to see what that little chin feels like.”For us, we’ve always been real. So, if somebody is real as well and they do good work and they don’t just talk, we respect them. Urijah [Faber] is a veteran of the sport, he’s a good guy [and] he’s built a great team. We have a lot of respect for what they do at Team Alpha Male. So for sure, there is definitely a lot of respect between us there but don’t get me wrong, I’m still very excited to get my hands on Fili.” — Artem Lobov speaking to The Mac Life.
The two did originally meet on The Ultimate Fighter 22, coached by McGregor and Urijah Faber. Artem Lobov lost a decision to Mehdi Baghdad, but was brought back to knock out three fighters in a row. The closest the two came to battle was a brawl that almost broke out during trash talk between teams. A win against Andre Fili at UFC Gdansk may be enough for Lobov to finally break into the featherweight top 15. Either way, there’s no way it’ll be a boring fight. The Russian Hammer always makes sure of that.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/14/2017.