Between the controversial sparring bouts, the photos, the video leaked by Dana White, and their altercation at media day, it’s looks like Conor McGregor is fighting Paul Malignaggi on Saturday instead of Floyd Mayweather. Of course, if Malignaggi gets his way, they could fight next year on St. Patrick’s day. Although, McGregor’s right hand (or is it left hand?) man, Artem Lobov, isn’t convinced that fight will happen. He recently spoke to Submission Radio to put this Malignaggi situation to rest.
“Everybody always talks about Conor, says this and the other, but he truly is a man that likes a challenge. I mean, he is doing this fight [with Floyd Mayweather], why? Because no one before him was able to beat Floyd Mayweather. That’s why Conor is here to prove, that yes, it can be done. But Malignaggi doesn’t present any kind of a challenge. Conor doesn’t fight just for the money. You know, the money is the last thing on his mind – well, maybe not the last thing on his mind. Of course, you know, it plays a big part, but he needs a challenge. It needs to be someone that will truly push him to the next level. Malignaggi is not one of those guys, so I really doubt it’s gonna be him.”
— Dana White (@danawhite) August 12, 2017
“Malignaggi, and look, everybody’s gonna say I’m just trying to dish on him or whatever, but no, like, let’s be honest, he’s never received so much media attention in his life. Even when he fought for those titles back in the day, he never experienced this level of interest in his persona as he is right now. So he is just, as everything kind of died down a little bit and no one was talking about him anymore, you know, he missed that spotlight I think and he just wanted to probably run into Conor and try and start something else out of there, or maybe he’s thinking trying to get a fight in the future. But he is just not in the same league as Conor, so we all already saw that fight and there’s no need to see that beat down anymore.”
It’s the return of the — oh wait, no way, your kidding — he didn’t just say what I think he did, did he? Artem Lobov bringing the heat once again to Paul Malignaggi saying that McGregor wouldn’t fight him because it’s not even a challenge. It almost sounded like the cold-blooded Russian machine cared about Malignaggi’s well-being toward the end there. McGregor’s camp is so smart though, who is to say Artem Lobov himself isn’t eyeing a fight with Malignaggi to handle Conor’s light work.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/24/2017.