Artem Lobov Wants To Sign With KSW But Is Keeping His Options Open

While the world remains on lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Artem Lobov knows he has a lot to look forward to once things go back to normal. ‘The Russian Hammer’ sees himself competing in boxing, both gloved and bare knuckle, and MMA this year.

Before the coronavirus, Lobov was in talks with the Polish promotion, KSW. Speaking to MMA Fighting, Artem said that once the pandemic situation improves, he wants to continue with negotiations with the company.

“It was really close. Where we got to was, I told them what I want to get paid and everything seemed to be going fine. The last bit of the negotiation that was left was the fact that I just wanted to do a one-fight deal with them whereas they wanted to sign me to an exclusive contract. That’s kind of where we were, just negotiating terms. I might not mind doing an exclusive MMA contract with them as long as they allow me to fight in boxing and bare knuckle. They don’t seem to mind that, but that’s where we were at.”

Lobov’s time in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships has set up a potential boxing match with Paulie Malignaggi down the line, having already beat him at BKFC 6.

And although negotiations are currently on hold with KSW, Lobov is excited by the prospect of fighting in a such a huge promotion.

“To me, KSW is a huge promotion and it’s on my list of one of the things I want to do as an MMA fighter. I think that goes for any European fighter,” Lobov said.

“If you look at it now, KSW has the second-largest attendance record in the world, losing only to PRIDE. PRIDE doesn’t exist anymore, so for the active promotions they are number one. To me, that’s something. They are one of those promotions that never seem to want to compete with the UFC, they just have selected their own path. Their shows are always sold out, they’re always on mainstream TV stations in Poland, they always make money and they never seem to care about what other promotions are doing.”

Lobov has the perfect opponent in mind for his KSW debut, and for good reason.

“Artur Sowinksi is a fight that I want to put right for a long time – that win was stolen from me,” he explained. “His friend was the promoter, a Polish promoter at the time and he overturned it, but that’s a win in my mind – it was a win that was stolen from me. At the time, I went on Polish TV and everywhere calling him out. I said, ‘Forget that, whatever. You guys f***ed me over, you stole my win from me, but I’m willing to forget it, I’m not a moaner – let’s meet in the cage and make it right again.’ For some reason, he didn’t want that fight.

“Of course, now that I’m a much bigger name he might be interested. In my opinion, he doesn’t fully deserve that fight with me. I’m a big name now, this would be a big money fight for him. He doesn’t really deserve it. He stole the win from me, he turned down the rematch with me when I asked him, he doesn’t really deserve it. At the same time, I really want to make that right for a long time and it would be so sweet to finally knock that guy out. I nearly knocked him out the first time, I dropped him twice, but I didn’t get the finish. I feel if we met now it would be game over for him.”

Bellator courted Lobov after he parted ways with the UFC, and although he has his heart set on signing with KSW, the 33 year old isn’t ruling out fighting inside a Bellator cage at some point.

“To be honest, [Bellator] made me an offer just after I left the UFC. It was a very good offer and I was very grateful for the offer. I was ready to sign for them, but at the time Bare Knuckle FC were throwing money at me and I just couldn’t turn that down. I tried to ask Bellator to up the cash just a little bit, just so it would make a little more sense for me to sign with them, but they didn’t. It was a no-brainer for me. I just couldn’t turn down the money Bare Knuckle FC were throwing at me, so I ended up signing with them.

“I’m still not ruling Bellator out of the equation completely,” he added. “They come to Ireland twice a year and it’s always a big show. It’s big promotion, I could certainly see myself in the Bellator cage as well, but KSW seem to be very close to signing me at the moment.”

Lobov also revealed that he offered to step in and face Michael ‘Venom’ Page on short notice at Bellator London last November, when he lost his opponent during fight week.

“When this happened I messaged John Kavanagh because he has a very close relationship with Bellator. I messaged him straightaway and said, ‘Tell them it’s one million and I’ll step in for one million.’ The fight was probably worth more than that, but I like Bellator so I thought I’d give them a little discount,” Lobov said.

“I would love to fight MVP. I know we’re in different weight classes, but I feel it’s a very winnable fight for me. I know his style and I have keys to beating him. To be honest, when he fought Paul Daley I thought Paul has the style to beat him, but for some f***ing reason, Paul decided he was a wrestler that night. I honestly don’t know what he was thinking or who gave him that idea, that was the biggest mistake. For me, he’s got the perfect style [to beat ‘MVP’]. That tight, K-1 style where you back the guy up and he has nowhere to go. He’s got a lot of power in his hands. I feel if he had have stood with him he would have won.”

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