Conor McGregor training partner Artem Lobov is no longer under contract with the UFC, but his time as a fighter is far from over.
After chasing potential fights with huge names like Paulie Malignaggi, Buakaw Banchamek, Saenchai and Amir Khan, he’s now closing in on a deal with Viacom-owned MMA powerhouse Bellator MMA.
Artem Lobov announced this big news in an interview with ESPN on Monday (h/t APMMA.net), adding that the offer he’s received is “very good,” and that he’s waiting to hear from other promotions before he signs on the dotted line and makes it official.
If Artem Lobov does sign with Bellator, he can look forward to dozens of exciting matchup options between the promotions featherweight and lightweight divisions.
While it sounds as though the Conor McGregor training partner could soon call himself a Bellator fighter, however, there is one opponent he wishes he’d had the chance to fight in the UFC: Khabib Nurmagomedov stablemate Zubaira Tukhugov.
The pair were expected to fight at UFC Moncton last fall. This fight was cancelled after Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s teams were involved in a wild post-fight brawl after UFC 229, but after this brawl, the prospective matchup now has more heat than ever. As such, Lobov would be willing to fight Tukhugov anywhere in the world — and donate his whole purse to charity.
“”I’m willing to fight Zubaira on whatever notice in any place in the world. This fight to me is not about money…it’s about respect and making it right,” he said.
If Artem Lobov signs with Bellator, who do you want to see him fight in his debut?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/4/2019.