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19 Feb, 2018 19:00

‘I never lack motivation’ – Artem Lobov speaks on ‘decisive’ fight at UFC 223

UFC featherweight Artem Lobov says he doesn’t need any additional motivation going into his fight with Alex Caceres at UFC 223 in Brooklyn, New York, although he admits the bout could be decisive for both men.

Last week the UFC announced that 31-year-old Dublin resident Lobov will be on the UFC 223 card in Brooklyn against American Alex Caceres. Coming off two decision losses in 2017, Lobov now faces a tough challenge, as yet another defeat could end his time with the UFC, meaning it’s a make-or-break bout.

Same might imply the same is true for his opponent, the 29-year-old Caceres, who has suffered three losses in his last four fights.

“Yes, it’s a decisive fight for both of us,” Lobov admitted, talking exclusively to RT Sport.

“(But) obviously, (the UFC) is the best organization in the world, so you have to be performing accordingly. Those are tough challenges. Every single fight is a tough fight there. And you have to be winning. So it’s an important fight for me for sure.”

However, Lobov added that his motivation for any cage fight remains at the same high level, no matter how potentially important the bout is for his career.

“I never lack motivation. When you are going for a fight, the other person is there to hurt you. You have to make sure you hurt them more to get the win. I always put it on the line, I leave nothing behind, I never quit. And it won’t be any different this time around.”

The UFC 223 fight card, which will be headlined by the lightweight championship bout between Tony Ferguson and Lobov’s fellow Russian, Khabib Nurmagomedov, will be hosted in a city that’s known as a hotbed for immigrants from Russian-speaking states.

Unsurprisingly, the event has long been rumored to feature a number of Russian fighters. Apart from Nurmagomedov and Lobov, the card is expected to see exiting UFC newcomer Zabit Magomedsharipov and Mairbek Taisumov.

Lobov also admitted that the choice of the card wasn’t accidental.

“I wanted to either fight at UFC London or else UFC in Brooklyn. I want to fight in front of my fans. And those were the best options. London has a big Russian and Irish community. And Brooklyn has probably even bigger Russian and Irish communities. So I look forward to putting on a show for my fans and fighting in front of my crowd.”

Lobov could have been added to the Brooklyn card for another reason as well. Lobov’s friend and longtime sparring partner Conor McGregor always corners him in fights, and the UFC would definitely want to see the ‘Notorious’ Irishman in the crowd during the fight for the lightweight belt.

READ MORE: ‘McGregor will have to wait in line when I win UFC belt’ – Khabib Nurmagomedov on lightweight rivals

“I guess that probably played the part. For sure they would like to see Conor in the arena when Khabib and Tony fight. They did this before his fight with (Jose) Aldo. When Aldo was fighting (Chad) Mendes, they flew Conor to Brazil, so he would watch the fight live, in front of them. And then he fought Aldo later on, the same year. So I guess it’s a history repeating itself again,” said Lobov.

While McGregor technically still holds the lightweight belt, and Ferguson is entitled as the interim champion, UFC head Dana White has already announced that the winner of the UFC 223 main event will be announced as champion.