Artem Lobov talks possible Amir Khan match, hints at Conor McGregor return
Artem Lobov is in talks with BRAVE CF about a possible crossover fight with professional boxer Amir Khan, but he’s not ruling out a return to MMA in the future.
Lobov was in attendance at BRAVE CF 24, which took place on July 25 in London, England. There, he spoke with Rhodri Morgan of The Body Lock about his future plans.
“I just came here to talk to the organizers, to the owners of the show and see what the future holds,” Lobov said.
When asked if he was hoping to see Khan, who was in attendance, at the event, Lobov brushed off the idea of focusing solely on one opponent.
“Amir’s not the only boxer out there, you know, there’s countless [other] names,” Lobov said. “I like to do big things, and BRAVE like to do big things. So, if maybe we can combine our forces together, you know, we could do great things together, so why not? Like I said, everybody wants to see, you know, MMA fighter versus the boxer again. So let’s, let’s do it. Let’s organize it. I’m happy to do it. It would be great to do it under the BRAVE banner.”
If Lobov were to fight Khan or another professional boxer, he would be the one entering his opponent’s realm, not the other way around.
“For a boxer, the transition to MMA is a very long road,” Lobov explained. “It is a lot quicker, I feel, for an MMA fighter to transition into boxing, and at [the] end of the day, many of the MMA fighters already work with boxing coaches. Most do. We often spar other boxers. So, it wouldn’t be that new to us, whereas a boxer transitioning to MMA, you need to learn the wrestling, jiu-jitsu and everything in between, so it’s a longer transition.”
Lobov has not competed in traditional professional boxing, but he has experience in a ring without the gloves competing in bare-knuckle boxing.
After his requested release from the UFC in January of 2019, Lobov found a new home in Bare Knuckle FC. He won his first fight against fellow UFC veteran Jason Knight by unanimous decision in an absolute war back in April.
Just over two months later, Lobov fought former professional boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi at Bare Knuckle FC 6 in a grudge match stemming from Malignaggi’s history with Lobov’s close friend, Conor McGregor. Lobov defeated Malignaggi by unanimous decision as well.
Despite his success in bare-knuckle boxing, Lobov is leaving the door open for a comeback in MMA.
“I’m a prizefighter. Whoever pays, I fight,” Lobov said. “That’s the simple way of putting it. I always bring it. I feel I’m a good guy to do business with. I’ve never pulled out once. I never miss weight. I always show up. I always give the fans a great show. They always get their money’s worth.”
Lobov made it clear that he wants to do what is best for him and his family’s long-term future while he is still able to compete.
“I mean obviously fighting is my number one thing right now,” Lobov said. “This is what I’m hoping to do for the next couple of years, and I understand that this is a young man’s sport and I’m 32. I’ll be 33 in August. So I probably have a couple of years left, so I have to be realistic. So I want to make them count and I want to make the most of them both for my heart in terms of good fights that I enjoy as well as for my wallet.”
As for his friend and sparring partner McGregor, Lobov believes that his time in the sport may not be up just yet either.
“Conor is always training. This is in his blood,” Lobov said. “I’m sure you’ll hear something soon.”
Shane Connelly is a journalism student at Penn State with a passion for sharing the stories of MMA fighters.