Artem Lobov acknowledges probable ulterior motive for UFC 223 booking 4 years ago

Artem Lobov acknowledges probable ulterior motive for UFC 223 booking

When it was first announced that Artem Lobov was booked for UFC 223, every fight fan jumped to the same conclusion.

If you were to focus on Artem Lobov the individual, you could conclude that he is an ideal candidate for a Brooklyn event. Walking out with the Russian flag wrapped around one hand and the Irish tri-colour on the other will go down an absolute storm with the sizeable immigrant population in that part of the Big Apple.

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The 'Russian Hammer' is also a marquee name in the sport. While his attitude and his entertaining fight style has certainly helped raise his profile, his fame can largely be attributed to his superstar training partner. Whenever Lobov fights, Conor McGregor is sure to show up.

John Kavanagh told The Mac Life with a grin washed across his face that he 'may have pushed' for Lobov to be on UFC 223. The SBG head coach said this was because he is 'looking forward to watching' the main event.

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Being real

A McGregor appearance can transform any event into an absolute spectacle. It works when you get moments like that infamous stare down of Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar during their interim title fight at UFC 200. However, it can backfire when he leaps into the cage before shoving the referee.

The UFC cannot be blamed if they are using Lobov as a lure to create some unique McGregor buzz for their next lightweight title fight. Lobov recognises this is part of the reason why he's fighting Alex Caceres in Brooklyn as he told Russia Today.

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"Yeah, I guess that probably played a part in them deciding which card to put me on. For sure they would like to see Conor in the arena when Khabib and Tony fights. They did this before his Aldo fight. When Aldo was fighting Mendes they flew Conor into Brazil so that he could watch the fight live in front of them and then he fought Aldo later on in the year."

The return

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Interestingly, Lobov's comments seem to indicate that McGregor intends of fighting the winner of Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov. The UFC are promoting this one as a title fight, but Lobov sees it as a title-eliminator.

"So I guess it's probably history repeats itself again and the lightweight challenger will be decided on that night. They would like Conor to be in the audience at that time and he will fight the challenger later on in the year as well."

Assuming McGregor doesn't book a fight in the near future, he will have been inactive in MMA for 17 months by the time UFC 223 rolls around. The last time he was seen in the Octagon was at the promotion's New York debut in August 2016. He knocked out Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight strap on that night.