In the immediate aftermath of UFC 229, there were plenty of storylines for the fans and media to talk about. Some were insignificant and some were actually quite important, but one tidbit that seemed to rise to prevalence involved Artem Lobov.
As we all know the whole Conor McGregor-Khabib Nurmagomedov ordeal really stepped up a notch back in April when a confrontation between Khabib and Lobov led to the infamous bus incident. Alas, it was the post-fight brawl that had repercussions for good old Artem, as his scheduled opponent for UFC Moncton, Zubaira Tukhugov, was removed from the card.
Now before we go on we just need to say one thing: that was definitely the right decision from Dana White, and after he was caught bragging, Tukhugov should never compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship again.
Lobov is now set to fight veteran Michael Johnson in Canada next weekend, in a fight that should be intriguing to see unfold. Logic suggests that Johnson will tear through him but Lobov has been known to spring a few surprises from time to time, which is probably one of the reasons why he’s so popular amongst the MMA fans.
Whether it be sarcastic or not, the ‘GOAT’ comments that follow Artem around always tend to make for some entertaining viewing both in the cage and social media. He seems to have become something of a phenomenon, to the point where he has a 13-14-1 record and yet the UFC would never dream of cutting him.
The association he has with McGregor is a big reason for that, but it certainly feels like Lobov has taken on a life of his own. It doesn’t matter what his skill level is inside of the Octagon because his subtle yet infectious personality outside of it always seems to get the fans going.
You could argue that it’s the underdog moniker which has caused this kind of ‘movement’, but now more than ever, it’s going to be really interesting to see what the last six months have done not only to his confidence but to his star power as well. Aside from the main event, there aren’t too many notable fights on the card, and with Lobov in the co-main event spot, we’re almost certain that a certain Irishman will be there on the cage side.
You might hate the ironic love of Lobov and we can understand why, but even if that’s the case, you’ll almost certainly tune in to see Michael Johnson going up against him.