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Artem Lobov announces retirement

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Artem Lobov
Denys Lisovets

Artem Lobov is stepping away from the fight game.

The former UFC fighter and bare-knuckle boxing star announced his retirement Friday following a loss to Olympic silver medalist Denys Berinchyk this past weekend in a bare-knuckle bout at a Mahatch FC event in Kyiv, Ukraine. MMA Fighting confirmed the news with Lobov’s associates at the online entertainment platform Parimatch following a report from Ariel Helwani.

MMA Plus was first to report that Lobov mentioned retirement shortly after his fight with Berinchyk.

“It’s true, time to close the career,” Lobov said in a statement to MMA Fighting provided by Parimatch. “There’s plenty other options and suggestions to prolong my path, but not fighting.

“In order to succeed, you have to say goodbye and concentrate on other things. Of course, I’ll be with Mahatch and the Parimatch team. All my sponsors are already family for me. I feel this support indeed. So I won’t say goodbye from all fighting activities, but I need to finish my career as a fighter.”

Lobov retires from active combat sports competition with a 14-15-1 (1 NC) and a 2-2 record in bare-knuckle. “The Russian Hammer” never had a champion’s resume, but his willingness to take on any opponent and his outspoken personality made him a fan favorite, with “Artem the GOAT” becoming a popular meme among fight fans.

He burst onto the scene in 2015 as a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter 22 where he was coached by his close friend and longtime training partner Conor McGregor. Lobov made it to that season’s lightweight finals where he was defeated by Ryan Hall.

Lobov went on to compete six more times in the UFC, scoring wins over Teruto Ishihara and Chris Avila, while falling short against the likes of Andre Fili and Cub Swanson. His bout with Swanson served as the main event of UFC Nashville in April 2017. In his last fight for the UFC, Lobov lost a unanimous decision to Michael Johnson.

The 34-year-old then ventured into the world of bare-knuckle boxing where he won two fights in four appearances for the BKFC, including a high-profile victory against former world champion boxer Paulie Malignaggi at BKFC 6.

Ahead of his fight with Berinchyk, Lobov spoke to MMA Fighting about his legacy and his hopes that a win over Berinchyk could elevate him to big money boxing matches against an opponent like Ryan Garcia. He also said he planned to continue competing in MMA, but for now, it appears that Lobov has fought for the last time.