Artem Lobov is confident he’s the hardest hitting featherweight in the UFC roster, and he’s out to prove just that in his next bout.
The Russian fighter is currently scheduled to fight MMA veteran Cub Swanson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 108, which takes place on April 22 in Nashville, Tenn. Although this is likely to be the toughest test of his MMA career, Lobov believes this is the perfect opportunity to get him his first stoppage win in the octagon.
“I think against Cub I get it done,” Lobov said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “He comes in, he’s very open, he throws wild shots, and he has never, I promise you, in his life felt power that I have.”
Of course, being a 31-fight veteran, Swanson has faced his fair share of power punchers, including guys such as Jeremy Stephens, Chad Mendes, and none other than current 145-pound champion José Aldo. Yet, Lobov believes he’s hardest hitter in the division, even against the champ who owns 14 knockout wins.
“Even against Aldo, Aldo doesn’t have that kind of power in his hands, no chance,” said Lobov. “What Aldo is good at is the leg kicks, that’s what oppened a lot of doors for him. He would land those leg kicks, and then the shot would come from there, but in terms of his hands, he doesn’t have, I mean he has power, of course he does, but nowhere near the power that I have, I promise you that. Now that Conor is gone from the division, I’m the hardest hitter of the division by a long shot.”
Apart from possibly getting his first finish in the UFC, Lobov, who’s currently unranked, also belives this is a good chance for him to break into the top 10 of the featherweight rankings.
“This is the match-up that I dreamed of,” Lobov said. “This guy, he lets me show my skill, he’s the guy that puts me out there, he’s the guy that helps me break into the top 10, not that I care about the rankings but it would be nice to be ranked, he’s the guy that will truly allow me to show my potential.”
Pitting an unranked fighter against the fourth ranked in the division in the main event of a UFC card is a strange and rare match-up. That’s why some fans have criticized Lobov, saying that he’s not deserving of a headlining spot, and that he’s in that position just because he’s Conor McGregor’s training partner.
Lobov doesn’t care what critics have to say, and said he’s proud of being the training partner of the UFC lightweight champ, as it’s no easy task.
“All the time I hear them, but they don’t bother me at all,” Lobov explained. “I’ve said it before, me and Conor are very, very good friends, and he’s certaintly helped me get into the UFC, you know, it is what it is, it makes no difference. For me it’s my biggest sporting achievement being Conor McGregor’s sparring partner. I said this before, this is not an easy sport to be in, and many have tried to be in this sport and failed. I’m not in this sport because I’m good looking or whatever, I’m in this port because I’m the toughest mother f**ker around, you know. I have been for many years, so to me that’s not offensive, I take pride in that, so it doesn’t bother me at all.”
When the fight was first announced, Swanson told MMA Fighting that he will be teaching Lobov some manners in the cage, Lobov welcomes that lesson.
“I look forward to that lesson because I’m going to be teaching him the lesson not to f**k around with ‘The Russian Hammer’.”