Ever since leaving the UFC in 2018, Artem Lobov—Conor McGregor’s longtime friend and training partner—has found a home for himself in the world of bare knuckle boxing.
Lobov is 2-1 sans gloves, with wins over fellow UFCer Jason Knight and former WBA welterweight champ Paulie Malignaggi. His sole loss was in a rematch with Knight, late in 2019.
Lobov is currently scheduled to face Ukrainian pro boxer Denys Berinchyk, a former WBO lightweight champion and Olympic silver medallist, under bare knuckle rules on June 19th. That fight is being promoted by Ukrainian outfit Mahatch FC.
To promote the fight Lobov appeared on Lethwei world champion Dave Leduc’s podcast, Bareknuckle Uncensored.
While speaking with Leduc, talk turned towards Lobov’s most famous friend and his upcoming trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier, scheduled for UFC 264 on July 10.
According to ‘The Russian Hammer’ McGregor didn’t take his second bout with Poirier, which ended with a TKO for the American, that seriously back in January. However, Lobov said he was sure things would be different this time around.
“Conor is a very, very smart fighter,” he said (ht bjpenn.com). “I just feel the last fight he maybe took it a little bit lightly and thought, ‘I’ll just show up and do what I do and destroy him.’ Not only that, he was already mentally and physically getting ready for a boxing fight so he wasn’t thinking leg kicks… No MMA. He just thought it was going to be the same way as the first fight.”
“We have to give credit to Dustin,” continued Lobov. “He’s done his homework. He’s improved a lot since the first fight and he did a good job. But I think now when Conor is switched on, he knows what’s up. His full focus is on this fight. He’s studied him, he looked at what the issues were in the second fight and honestly when Conor shows up like that? There’s no stopping him. So I see him stopping Dustin early, first, maybe second round. I want to say first. My prediction is first round but it could go into the second.”
Lobov came to the UFC with an 11-10-1 (1 NC) record and debuted on The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber. He was the number one pick of McGregor’s on that show and was also gifted second chance, by McGregor, which lead to him facing eventual champion Ryan Hall in the finale.
After taking a loss to Alex White, Lobov secured two wins in the Octagon by beating Chris Avila and then Teruto Ishihara. He was cut from the promotion in 2018 after three straight losses to Cub Swanson (in a Fight of the Night effort), Andre Fili and Michael Johnson.