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Andre Fili: Fans have ‘no right’ to say foe Artem Lobov doesn’t belong in the UFC

UFN Fight Night 96 Weigh-in Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It’s hard to believe that Artem Lobov and Andre Fili’s clash at UFC Fight Night 118 in Gdansk hasn’t been deemed worthy of a main-card slot.

Lobov, once a top-ranked featherweight and lightweight in Poland as he made his ascent on the European scene, spent a lot of time around Fili during his time on The Ultimate Fighter.

Fili, who was a coach for Team Faber on TUF 22, acknowledged that he knows Lobov better than some of his previous opponents, but didn’t note any specific advantages that it gives him ahead of their meeting.

“I’ve been around him a lot more than other guys that I get picked to fight,” Fili told MMA Fighting.

“There is no bad blood, though. There’s no disrespect. I don’t feel any negative emotion towards him as a person. He’s alright.

“He’s tough, he puts on exciting fights and he’s got a good chin – all these things make for an exciting fight. I’m just excited to get in there to let my hands go and get this win.”

Lobov polarizes opinion on the MMA landscape.

Some believe “The Russian Hammer” has earned his spot in the Octagon since making his promotional debut against Ryan Hall in December 2015. Others think his UFC status is completely reliant on his good friend and training partner, Conor McGregor.

As far as Fili is concerned, the people who think Lobov does not deserve to be in the UFC are people who don’t have the first clue about fighting.

“He doesn’t have the best record, but he’s fought some of the best guys in the world,” Fili explained.

“I think most of the people who talk about him not deserving to be in the UFC are guys who have never been in a cage and have fought for a living.

“This is no disrespect to fans, but it’s hard for me to take things into consideration when the people that are saying he doesn’t deserve to be in there have never fought before.

“Most people wouldn’t get locked in a cage with a guy that wants to hurt them, knowing that their only option is to hurt him first. People can go live their whole lives avoiding a situation like that.

“For me, if you’ve never been in a situation like that, you have no right to tell someone whether a fighter is deserving of it or not when it’s what they do for a living every day.”

Fili knows firsthand how fickle some fans can be when it comes to their interactions with fighters on social media.

“I’ve had people personally tell me to quit fighting, they’ve told me I’m a bum and they’ve told me that I should go kill myself when I’ve lost a fight. Then I’ve won my next fight and the same fan is tweeting me about how good of a job I did,” he remembered.

“They’ll try to say a load of horrible sh*t to you and then they’ll turn around and try to tell you how great you are. It’s crazy, man.

“Fighting brings out the best and worst in people. I feel it brings the best out of the people that actually fight and it can bring the worst out in some people who watch the fights.

“The Internet is a f**kin’ crazy place.”

The majority of fans believe that Fili vs. Lobov will be a guaranteed contender for ‘Fight of the Night ‘ honors. Fili tends to agree.

“I always want the finish,” Fili said. “I’ve had fights that have gone to decision and finishing isn’t the most important thing, but I really like to put an exclamation point on a fight.

“I love entertaining people. I love pulling off a finish where people can go, ‘one minute into the fight he caught with a head kick’, I love having that kind of finality to a fight.

“I’m just excited to put on a show. I’m really looking for a highlight reel win and to give the fans something they can stand up and cheer for.

“I love going to a place where you aren’t from and then after your fight everybody wants to take a picture with you and they’re just going crazy because you’ve put on an amazing fist fight.

“That’s a great feeling.”

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