Sometimes you have to sacrifice for the greater good. In the case of rising UFC featherweight contender Artem Lobov, that means skipping out on his own fighting opportunity in favor of helping teammate Conor McGregor prepare for his upcoming superfight with boxer Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.
“I was offered a fight with Andre Fili,” Lobov told MMA Junkie. “He was calling me out on Twitter. I would’ve taken the fight, but it’s just too hard for me to commit to something on July 29. I’m needed in this camp. It would’ve been too much of a risk for me.”
I have a Billion dollar commitment at the moment....any time in september?— Artem Lobov (@RusHammerMMA) June 14, 2017
You can help a teammate and still be in your own camp? I seen't it lots of times. I'm doing it right now. July 29th- You in or you out? pic.twitter.com/oa0bxYLqOe— Andre Fili (@TouchyFili) June 14, 2017
Lobov, 30, recently lost a main event war opposite Cub Swanson this past April at UFC Fight Night 108. The Straight Blast Gym fighter is more than willing to step inside of the Octagon with Fili later this year, but he has some greater business to take care of first.
“Let’s be honest: I don’t give a (expletive) about Andre Fili,” Lobov said. “I could fight that guy any day of the week. Once this fight is out of the way, and Conor knocks out Mayweather and has the world at his feet, we can see what’s going to happen then.
“Conor got into the UFC. We all helped him to get there, and then he pulled everybody up there with him. I owe it to him to help him in any way I can.”
Some people might be surprised that McGregor is sticking with “Russian Hammer” as a main training partner for his preparation for “Money.” That’s not intended to be a knock on Lobov, it’s just that Mayweather is considered one of the most technical boxers of all time.
“If you look at it, they said the same things about getting specific training partners before the Jose Aldo fight,” Lobov said. “They said the same for the (Eddie) Alvarez fight, too. They even said the same for the Dustin Poirier fight and for all of the other fights. Look at how those fights ended.
“(Conor) had no issues with sparring partners then. I was his sparring partner then and it was just fine. Obviously, this is boxing and it’s a slightly different game. We understand that and there are sparring partners lined up. We will leave no stone unturned in this camp. Everything is going to be taken care of. The preparation is going to be 100 percent on point.”
If Lobov can help McGregor dethrone Mayweather on Aug. 26, his own stock will probably go up around the combat community. But that’s very unlikely to happen.