This weekend, in the main event of UFC Nashville, featherweight contender Cub Swanson will take on Russian-born Irishman Artem Lobov. Given that Swanson currently sits inside the featherweight top-5, and Lobov sits outside the top-15 with an undeniably unimpressive 13-12-1 overall record, the announcement of this fight caused more than a few head scratches. Yet Lobov asked for it, Swanson accepted, and here we are.
On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, host Ariel Helwani asked Swanson if he had seen the widespread opinions that Lobov doesn’t actually deserve to be in the UFC, and that he’s only made it to the big stage as a result of his association with MMA mega star Conor McGregor. Swanson then got talking on the subject, explaining that he believes Lobov is skilled, but that he hasn’t taken his career seriously, and that he probably has ridden McGregor’s coat tails to a degree.
“I don’t believe that talent-wise he shouldn’t be in the UFC. I feel like with his record and things like that, there are so many more deserving people to be in the UFC. Somebody in that situation, if it wouldn’t have been for Conor, he would have had to string together a lot more wins and do a lot more things. I think people are pissed off at him for that. I particularly don’ like him for that. Like I said, I just know there’s a lot more deserving people. When you treat your career early on really crappy, you can’t expect to be in a good position. That’s just the way that pro fighting is. I don’t think [Lobov has] a lack of skillset, I think it was a lack of taking care of his record and doing the right things at the right time and doing all the things you need to do to be a great fighter from the middle level to the next level.”
What do you think of Cub Swanson’s assessment of Artem Lobov’s rather unimpressive record? Do you think the Conor McGregor training partner truly belongs on the sports biggest stage? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/17/2017.