Artem Lobov will fight for the second time in less than two months when he steps in to face Alex White on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 82. Not that he sees it as a fast turnaround. If "The Russian Hammer" had his druthers, he’d be fighting "every week," as he said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.
On Dec. 11, Lobov lost his bid to win The Ultimate Fighter 22 finale against Ryan Hall, a jiu-jitsu ace who made Lobov dance to his tune. It was a frustrating end for a guy who loved being in the house fighting as frequently as he did. And it was made all the worse, given that Lobov didn’t get to showcase well.
He said he envisioned having his "Forrest Griffith moment" that night, but instead got what he considered "the most boring finale on The Ultimate Fighter ever."
"I pride myself on having the most exciting fights ever," he told Ariel Helwani. "Any of the shows I’ve ever fought on, they always want to have me back because I always have the fight of the night performance."
The good news is that Lobov — who trains at the Straight Blast Gym with Conor McGregor in Dublin — thinks the UFC gave him a fight to do away with the memory of what happened at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale in Las Vegas.
"When they offered I didn’t know, I just said yes," he said. "That’s as far as my conversations with matchmakers go. They send me a name, and I just say yes, doesn’t really matter to me. Just let me know when and where, and I’m going to be there. So that was the same thing here. I just took the fight. I had a little look at [White], I looked at his record. Perfect. He’s exactly the kind of guy that I don’t like. The guy that I don’t feel had much of a challenge in his career, just padded record, got into the UFC, had a few fights there…just didn’t really pass the challenge, and now he’s here."
Lobov said he believes the UFC gave him White as a kind of executioner’s song.
"I feel that they probably want him out of the UFC, and that’s why they gave him to me," he said. "I think that they probably felt sorry for me after the Finale, they know that I can knock guys out. They’ve seen that on The Ultimate Fighter, so they probably thought, okay, let’s give Artem a good one now. Let’s give him one where he can show his true potential."
Speaking of records, much has been made by Lobov’s overall professional record, with it hovering at around .500 (12-11). On that front, Lobov said people should realize his record is a point of pride. It says that they didn’t take any shortcuts coming up, and he didn’t opt to fight tomato cans.
"Let’s be honest here — 99 percent of MMA fans haven’t got a clue what’s going on," he said. "They don’t understand the game enough to comment on any of that. They don’t know how easy it is to have an impressive record. I could have 10 guys in my gym tomorrow, beat them all up, and there’s 10 wins for my record. It is that easy. It is that easy to be 10-0. What I did is very, very hard. Not very many people do it — in fact, very, very few people do it.
"I can honestly say that if you look at people’s outside of the UFC records, I have the most solid record in the UFC right now. That’s a fact. I went down there looking for the challenges. When the phone rang, so many times this happened, and they say, look, we have this guy who’s really good, nobody wants to fight him in Europe, will Artem take him? Every time I said yes. No one else wanted to do it."
Lobov said that his record should read like a religious text for fighters who take easy routes to the UFC.
"They should bring up my record, and call it the fighter bible," he said. "The warrior bible. All those guys with padded records should read it everyday, and they should put my picture on their wall as the Jesus Christ of MMA."