Most fighters will say that training is much harder than actually stepping in the cage and fighting. That certainly holds true for Artem Lobov, who trains with the most famous fighter in the world.
Lobov, a Russian fighter that now lives in Ireland, fought the majority of the early part of his career in European fight promotions, while training alongside the UFC’s first simultaneous dual-division champion, Conor McGregor.
His big break came when McGregor was a coach on The Ultimate Fighter and selected him for his team.
Since 2015, Lobov has been fighting in the Octagon, albeit with mediocre results. He is 2-4 under the UFC banner, most recently having lost back-to-back bouts to Andre Fili and Cub Swanson. He has always given his all in the Octagon, though, having never been finished in a UFC fight.
He credits that to his training with the man he calls the best in the world… Conor McGregor.
“A lot of people shy away from the challenge, but I was always a believer that you need a challenge to improve,” Lobov said in a recent video from UFC Fight Pass. “And in fighting, it was Conor. He was the hardest challenge. He was the guy that hit the hardest. He was the hardest spar. So I kept going, kept asking for more and more and more.”
McGregor and Lobov also share the same head coach, John Kavanagh, who agrees that “The Russian Hammer” has not chosen an easy road when it comes to training with McGregor. Though Lobov’s record isn’t the most impressive – he currently stands at 13-14-1 and 1 no contest – he always brings toughness to the cage and that toughness is largely thanks to prepping McGregor so that his fights seem much easier.
“Artem has probably done more rounds with Conor than anybody on the planet,” said Kavanagh. “We used to joke, (for) fights, he would do five (five-minute rounds) in the warm-up room with Conor. Conor would go and end it in a minute, so Artem had the tougher time than the opponent.”
Lobov has never shied away from a tough training regimen and he won’t as he heads into his next bout. Lobov is slated to face Alex Caceres in the featured bout on the UFC 223 Early Prelims on UFC Fight Pass on April 7 in Brooklyn, N.Y. In fact, he relishes the unique position that he is in at SBG Ireland.
“People are always saying, ‘oh, I’m training with this guy, with that guy,’ well, I’m training with world champion,” Lobov added. “I am training with the best guy in the world on a daily basis. That is a luxury very few people can say.”
"I am training with the best in the world. There is no greater challenge in fighting than @TheNotoriousMMA and no matter how many knocks I get, I always ask for more." –@RusHammerMMA @SBG_Ireland #UFC223 #UFCFIGHTPASS pic.twitter.com/ykzpNhuTQK
— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) March 29, 2018