More than a few fans have argued that Artem Lobov shouldn’t be on the UFC roster, and if you’re one of those people, and you haven’t thrown hands in the cage, well, Andre Fili isn’t listening to you.
Lobov made his way to the UFC via TUF 22. Although he scored some big wins on the show, critics argued Lobov’s inclusion was due to the fact he’s a teammate of superstar, Conor McGregor. Then, after Lobov lost to Ryan Hall in the TUF 22 Finale, and after he was defeated by Alex White, some folks called for the featherweight’s UFC release. The argument being that at the time, Lobov was carrying a 11-12-1 record.
Well, since then, Lobov’s gone 2-1, but there’s still some people who don’t believe he’d be in the UFC, if not for his relationship with McGregor. While discussing that argument recently, in advance of his fight today with Lobov, Fili had this to say (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“He doesn’t have the best record, but he’s fought some of the best guys in the world,” Fili said.
“I think most of the people who talk about him not deserving to be in the UFC are guys who have never been in a cage and have fought for a living.
“This is no disrespect to fans, but it’s hard for me to take things into consideration when the people that are saying he doesn’t deserve to be in there have never fought before…
“For me, if you’ve never been in a situation like that, you have no right to tell someone whether a fighter is deserving of it or not when it’s what they do for a living every day.”
Lobov’s defenders, and the Russian himself, have also argued that the veteran fighter has faced some tough opposition over the years. Case in point, in his last outing he was outscored by Cub Swanson, but he did go five rounds with the perennial, featherweight contender (although, the fact Lobov was placed in a headliner also served as fodder for his critics).
All this aside, on paper, Lobov – Fili certainly looks like a bout that should be action packed. The fight will be part of the UFC FN 118 prelim card, which gets underway this AM at 11:45 AM /PT.