Artem Lobov was until recently a UFC fighter, spending the last 3 years as part of the promotion. Lobov asked for his release in January, which was granted.
Lobov first came to a lot of peoples attention with his run to The Ulitmate Fighter Final, in which he won by KO for three fights in a row, until he was defeated by Ryan Hall in the final.
Despite a UFC record of 2-5, Lobov showed he was willing to fight and was involved in some entertaining fights.
Lobov signed up with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and found himself taking on another recently released UFC star, Jason Knight, in his debut a couple of weeks ago. In a weekend that was devoid of top class boxing and MMA, BKFC had great exposure culminating in the main event between Lobov and Knight.
As can be expected when Lobov fights, this one did not disappoint. Both guys had each other on the canvas, both landing shots and in the end, as most people would see from the photos of their faces, both guy’s had their fair share of cuts and bruises. People were raving about the fight, which Lobov won by decision, and gained a whole lot of attention to the fledgeling sport.
I recently spoke with Artem Lobov and started by asking why after years of competing in MMA, did he make the move to bare-knuckle boxing?
“I always loved stand up fighting,” Lobov explained, “but I would be lying if I didn’t say that money played a big part.”
Will Lobov fight MMA again?
“I am a prizefighter, if you pay me to fight you, I will! So to answer your question, yes I probably will with the right offer.”
Several former UFC stars have made the move recently to bare-knuckle, Lobov explains why so many have moved over.
“Money!” Lobov stated. “In order to get people interested you need to invest, UFC invested back in the day and people took notice, same is happening with BKFC at the moment.”
I asked Lobov how he enjoyed his debut fight. He was quick to answer, “I loved it, could you not tell, Haha.”
There was a lot of debate about the safety of bare-knuckle fighters after the images of Lobov and Knight started to appear but Lobov feels a lot of the damage was superficial.
“The damage wasn’t as bad as it seems,” he said, “Cuts are nothing, they heal quick, scars are not something that worries me, brain damage does and bare-knuckle is safer in that regard.”
After rave reviews about the fight, BKFC seemed to pick the perfect weekend to have Lobov fight, with no major MMA or boxing to compete with, Lobov agrees that the weekend made sense.
“My plan is always to put on a great show, I am in the entertainment business and I take my job seriously. But the weekend was picked well from a business standpoint.”
Lobov is now due to fight Paulie Malignaggi in June, the former world champion boxer had a run in with Lobov before his last fight, in a move that seemed to try and provoke Lobov or some may feel, to provoke Lobov’s friend Conor McGregor however Lobov is remaining focused.
“Paulie is a weird character,” Lobov said. “I ignore his antics as long as he shows up June 22nd. He is broke and doing anything to stay in the spotlight and try and make a few quid.
“I will stop him! He is old, fat and lazy, doesn’t want this and is only here for the money, he’ll regret this for the rest of his life.
Another bare-knuckle fighter I interviewed recently, from the UK version BKB, Tyler Goodjohn, has called out both Lobov and Malignaggi. Lobov is not interested as he has never heard of Goodjohn.
“Haven’t heard of him, he needs to build his name first, I am not a charity and he brings nothing in terms of the PPV.”
Lobov feels Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship will do well and he plans on returning to Europe to fight in the future.
“I think BKFC have the right product and the right backing, I’ll get them to Vegas and then anything is possible!
“Yes I will fight in Europe I am sure, but money talks!”