Artem Lobov didn’t know for certain after his last loss if he would still be a UFC fighter.
While the former “Ultimate Fighter” finalist always puts on exciting fights, he had dropped his last two bouts in a row and didn’t know if the UFC was going to keep him on the roster any longer.
Rather than plead for his job or ask UFC president Dana White for one more chance, Lobov went an alternate route by putting out feelers to other promotions about potential employment as well as exploring options in both boxing and kickboxing. Of course, Lobov wanted to return to the UFC but no matter what he’s always going to look out for his own best interests and that doesn’t involve getting down on his knees to ask for a job.
“The UFC is full of beggars. They’re all beggars,” Lobov said about the current roster of fighters in the UFC. “You need to be a go getter. You need to go and get it. You need to go and make changes and go after what you want. All these guys they beg for everything. When they want more money, they don’t how else to go about it. They say ‘oh please pay me more, you’re not paying me enough’. What kind of attitude is that? I hate people like that. I never want to be a guy like that and I never will be. I went out there, I reached out to other organizations and said I could potentially be getting cut, I’m not yet but I could be, what are the offers, what are the options?
“You have to put yourself in the situation where you have other options rather than just waiting for fate to turn out the way you want it to.”
According to Lobov, he’s always going to make sure he’s got somewhere to go even if the UFC decides one day they no longer want to work with him.
That’s why he hinted at retiring from mixed martial arts after his last fight and instead hinted at pursuing opportunities in other combat sports that would keep him busy with paychecks flowing into his bank account.
“You know I’m just a guy I don’t like being dependant on someone. I take my career into my own hands and I make things happen for myself,” Lobov said. “I see a lot of guys they get released [from the UFC] or they’re praying they don’t get released or if they do they don’t know what to do. I see it all the time. I’m not one of those guys. I know there’s options out there. I thought I perhaps might get released from the UFC so I was just being realistic about the situation I was in. Don’t get me wrong, there have been people in worse situations than mine and still got kept on so it wasn’t for certain.
“But I was expecting if I do get cut, I had a plan of action. That’s what I was talking about. I had offers from the boxing world, I had offers from the K-1 world. I had offers from other MMA organizations and trust me those weren’t just some s–tty little offers because I couldn’t get it done in the UFC. Those offers were for more than in the UFC. So they were very, very good offers.”
In the end, the UFC told Lobov that they didn’t want him going anywhere but back into the Octagon for another fight.
Now he’s returning at UFC 223 where he’ll face Alex Caceres on the undercard and Lobov is excited to put on another exciting show — because that’s all he knows how to do.
“Of course, I was happy to receive a call from the UFC that they still want me, that they don’t want to release me,” Lobov said. “They’re happy with me fighting in the UFC and I said in that case, give me a fight and that’s how it happened.”