Aside from Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson, another product of Dublin’s Straight Blast Gym is featherweight Artem Lobov. Holding a professional record of 13-12-1 (and one no contest), “The Russian Hammer” has gone 2-2 in the UFC, with his most recent win against Teruto Ishihara last November.
Lobov is now set to headline his first event on Saturday April 22nd against Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night 108. Many are already giving the edge to the number four-ranked Swanson, who is also the betting favorite coming into the fight.
For Swanson, Lobov does deserve his spot in the UFC roster. But at the same time, he believes the connection to Conor McGregor may have helped out in a major way.
“I don’t believe that talent-wise he shouldn’t be in the UFC,” Swanson said on Monday’s edition of the MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “I feel like with his record and things like that there are so many more deserving people to be in the UFC. So somebody else in that situation, if it wouldn’t have been for Conor, he would have had to stream together a lot more wins and do a lot more things. So I think people are pissed off about that. I particularly don’t like him for that.
“When you treat your career early on really crappy, you can’t expect to be in a good position,” he continued. “That’s just the way pro fighting is. So, I mean, I don’t think it’s a lack of skill set. I just think it was a lack of taking care of his record and doing all the things at the right time.”
Like how McGregor does whenever he fights, Lobov started a series of verbal tirades against his opponent. For that alone, Swanson is motivated to put on a beating.
“He’s trying to be somebody, like a lot of these young guys are trying to be somebody that they’re not. And he’s trying to talk crap. You know, he called me a b--ch and he said I had no balls.”
“I feel like those two things aren’t true statements,” Swanson said. “I feel like if you’re going to call me out on something, call me out on something that’s true, but those aren’t true. To me it’s just ridiculous, and I’d like to make an example out of him.”
UFC Fight Night 108 takes place in Nashville, Tennessee.