Artem Lobov made his way onto the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) scene as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Team McGregor vs. Team Faber.” Lobov — who was already a training partner of Conor McGregor’s — was eliminated in his preliminary fight, but was ultimately brought back by “Notorious” per the rules and allowances of the show.
But, according to Cub Swanson, record-wise, there are many more fighters out there who deserve to be with the promotion instead of Lobov. As he sees it, Artem only got his foot in the door and stayed there because of being good buds with the biggest box office draw in the history of the promotion.
“I don’t believe that talent-wise he shouldn’t be in the UFC, I feel that with his record and things like that, there are so many more deserving people to be in UFC,” Swanson — who meets Lobov in the main event of this weekend’s (Sat., April 22, 2017) UFC Fight Night 108 event in Nashville, Tennessee — said on a recent appearance on ‘The MMA Hour.’
“Somebody in that situation, if it wouldn’t have been for Conor, he would’ve had to string together a lot more wins and do a lot more things,” he continued. “I think people are pissed off about that. I particularly don’t like him for that. I just know there are a lot more deserving people. When you treat your career early on really crappy, you can’t expect to be in a good position.”
Lobov eventually made it to the finals of TUF, but ultimately came up short against Ryan Hall. He followed up that performance with another loss before stringing together back-to-back wins. For Swanson, though, it’s not that Lobov doesn’t have the skills to be in UFC, it’s that he didn’t have the record and credentials to get there in the first place.
“That’s just the way pro fighting is. I don’t think it’s a lack of skill set, it was just a lack of taking care of his record and doing the right things at the right time and doing all the things to be a great fighter from middle level to the next level.”
Before going on TUF, Lobov had a record of 11-10 — not exactly mind-boggling stats when searching for up-and-coming talent. Nevertheless, Swanson knows Lobov is very durable and tough and admits he has improved over time. That said, Swanson — the No. 4-ranked Featherweight — wasn’t too thrilled when presented with the fight, but took it because he needed to squeeze one more bout in before taking a break from fighting to welcome his new baby into the world.
“I think they were just looking for a fight for me. I gave them kind of a timeframe that I needed because I didn’t tell them I was having a baby. I wanted to fight before that and then give myself a little break after in between,” said Swanson of Lobov, who isn’t ranked at the moment. “I wanted a certain timeframe and they were looking for somebody and he just happened to be talking crap about me at the time. I was in Mexico City cornering my brother, and then Dana called me and asked, ‘Hey, you want to fight Artem Lobov?’ And I was like, ‘Uh, Okay. I’d love to fight him, but, is there a bigger fight?’ And he said that’s all they had right now. So if that’s all they had for me, I’ll take it. I don’t mind beating him up. So that was it.”
While being friends with McGregor does have its privileges (prime example here), does Swanson have a point when it comes to Lobov’s place with the promotion?