— SevereMMA.com (@SevereMMA) February 16, 2018
In case you missed it, Artem Lobov was recently bestowed the honor of visiting the Kremlin and even training some of Russia’s special forces. However, Lobov isn’t the only one heading to Russia. It looks like a Russian deal with the UFC to put on a card is nearing completion, which makes The Hammer very happy. It also makes things very interesting for his friend and teammate Conor McGregor. Artem Lobov believes McGregor will fight whoever wins in the UFC 223 main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. If it’s Khabib, the move for sure is to put that in Russia.
“It’s a little bit to soon to say now whether [Conor McGregor] will be there [at UFC 223] or not. I of course always love seeing him at my fights. It means a lot to me when he is there and I know it means a lot to him to support me, and if he is able to be there, he will be there. […] Look, there is no question about it. Conor wants to fight. He’s a fighter. He’s a true fighter. There are very, very few true fighters out there and he is one of the very, very, few. He is the lightweight champion and he of course will be defending that belt. To be honest, I think it’s good the way it’s playing out now. Conor is in negotiations with the UFC and in the meantime, Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and Tony [Ferguson] will fight for the interim belt and they will decide who the next challenger is.”
— Artem Lobov (@RusHammerMMA) November 13, 2016
“Yeah, I think [McGregor] will fight the winner of this fight. […] The winner of that fight will be the true, true challenger and he will fight Conor for the belt. […] I feel you know, the first UFC event in Russia, Khabib versus Conor. I mean, that just has some unique — Yeah, [Zabit Magomedsharipov and I could fight on that card], who knows. Who knows how that will play out. But I’m excited. I was very, very excited to see that news the UFC is going to Russia finally. I have no question it’s going to be a great event. Yeah [I believe McGegor will fight the winner of Nurmagomedov and Ferguson]. Of course. Like I said, he’s the champion. So, you know, there will be a clear challenger decided April 7th and that’s who Conor is going to fight. That’s the way I see it.” — Artem Lobov speaking to the Talking Brawls podcast.
There you have it. The stage is set. Unless Conor McGregor has something incredibly important, he will be in attendance for Artem Lobov’s fight at UFC 223, which means he’ll be right there watching the main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. With Lobov believing that the winner is truly next, it’s hard to believe there won’t be some sort of confrontation. Even if they don’t bring McGregor inside the Octagon, no doubt the man with their hand raised will be asked about McGregor and all eyes will be on the ‘Champ Champ’s’ Twitter page for some sort of cheeky comment.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/17/2018.