It’s not a main event that many would’ve predicted at the start of the year, but April 22 is fast approaching and the #UFCNashville headliner will see the UFC's No. 4 ranked featherweight, Cub Swanson, take on the currently unranked Artem Lobov.
On paper, the fight makes little sense, but the reality is that it’s a fight that both men requested. Speaking exclusively to Champions.co earlier this week, Lobov explained how the fight came together.
“I mentioned in a few interviews that I liked his last fight and that I wanted to get some of that,” Lobov said. “He [Swanson] obviously saw that and tweeted that he ‘didn’t like me anyway’ and from there we just started going back and forth. I then sent Sean Shelby a messaging saying, ‘I’m sure you think Cub can beat me, but let me prove you wrong.' Sure enough, he’s given me my opportunity so here we are now.”
Since the fight was made, Lobov has been on the receiving end of plenty of criticism from fans questioning the logic behind the matchmaking. Having had ridicule for much his UFC tenure already, Lobov is used to ignoring what other people are saying and he’s instead focused on just doing what he loves—fighting.
“This is my opportunity to show everybody what my teammates and I already knew—that Artem Lobov belongs at the top,” Lobov said. “If I’m totally honest though, I couldn’t give a f*ck what anybody else says or thinks. I love to fight, I truly love to fight and I’m obsessed with fighting.”
Lobov elaborated on his passion for fighting and how it gave him a release from all the other troubles that exist in life.
“Being in that Octagon is the best time of my life,” Lobov said. “It’s the only place in life that I can truly relax and I don’t have to worry about anything in there. There’s no cancer in there, there’s no global warming, no financial crisis, there’s nothing in there. It’s just peace, quiet and enjoyment. That’s why I love being there and that’s why I try to be there as often as I can. This is my dream life and I’m doing what I love while making a few bob in the process.”
While many may be writing off the chances of the man from SBG Ireland, Lobov is confident that come fight night in Nashville he will be the one leaving the Octagon with his hand raised.
“He still looks very fresh, but for sure he’s been taking a lot of damage in his last few fights,” Lobov said. “His brain will have definitely felt it. People think I’m saying this just for the sake of saying it, but nobody hits as hard as me in that featherweight division. When I hit him, when I connect, I just hope they’re able to wake him back up.”
Lobov didn’t quite go full on "Mystic Mac" with his prediction, but he was confident that he wouldn’t be needing the full five rounds to get the job done.
“We don’t get paid by the hour,” Lobov said. “The quicker the better. I’m going to come forward at him, I’m going to press him and his back is going to be on that fence until his head hits the ground. I see myself stopping him and it won’t go to the championship rounds. I will have him out of there before the end of the third.”
If Lobov does win, he will no doubt make some serious inroads on the Top 15. Fans might be questioning the logic of the fight , but come April 22, a new kingpin from Ireland could be making some serious moves in the featherweight division.