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12 Mar, 2019 16:17

'Paulie Malignaggi calls out Conor, but I'll break his jaw': McGregor teammate Artem Lobov (VIDEO)

Irish-based Russian MMA star Artem Lobov, a teammate of UFC superstar Conor McGregor, says he will “break the jaw” of Paulie Malignaggi in a bare-knuckle bout after the US fighter called out ‘The Notorious’.

Lobov, who built a reputation as one of MMA's most willing competitors, fighting on both the regional scene across Europe and in the UFC, recently accepted the new challenge of signing with US-based bare-knuckle boxing promotion, Bare Knuckle FC.

READ MORE: Conor McGregor teammate Artem Lobov inks deal with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships

'The Russian Hammer' is preparing to take center stage in a main-event bout at the organization's fifth show, BKFC 5, where he will face fellow former UFC featherweight, Jason 'The Kid' Knight.

But another of Bare Knuckle FC's recent signings, former two-weight world boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi, was quick to throw some shade at Lobov's friend and sparring partner, Conor McGregor, first by calling him out for a fight and then taunting the Irishman over his Miami arrest on Monday.

Also on rt.com ‘Don’t you rob fans enough?’ Malignaggi taunts McGregor over ‘phone-smashing’ arrest

Talking to RT Sport via Skype, Lobov confirmed that he is interested in facing Malignaggi, promising "to welcome" the Brooklynite in the bare knuckle ring by "breaking his jaw."

"Of course, calling out Conor is going to get a lot more media attention than calling me out," Lobov explained.

"But let's be honest, Conor fought (Floyd) Mayweather in a boxing fight. But where is Mayweather and where is Paulie Malignaggi? Malignaggi is not the level Conor would even go to.

"So sorry about that Paulie, but I am looking forward to meeting you in the ring, and I am looking forward to breaking your jaw."

While confident of victory should he get his wish to face Malignaggi, 'The Russian Hammer' nevertheless admits that he has never faced a "boxer of that level."

"Certainly, Malignaggi was a world champion in boxing in two different weight classes so this presents a different kind of challenge for me. I've never faced a boxer of his level before. So of course it's very interesting for me.

"But I feel that the advantage is in my corner. If you look at how he used to win his fights, he never really possessed any knockout power, he was a volume fighter. He used his jab a lot, he was quite fast. But as we know he is 38 years old now. And speed is the first thing to go as we age. 

"And if you look and his record a little bit closely, those 20 first fights that he won, who are those guys? This is typical boxing mentality, padded records. They get you to fight the guys that can never win, and they not even trying to. In fact if a journeyman wins the fight, he most likely won't get called up to fight again. So those are not real fights. His real record is five wins and eight losses. 

"That's when you look at it objectively and really know what is what, and what the real fight is. So when I take all those things into consideration, I really like my chances."

While Lobov’s career may be taking him in a different direction, he says the door isn’t closed to a return to the cage. Indeed, he revealed that his contract with Bare Knuckle FC still allows him to compete in MMA if he can land himself a deal with another organization.

“Certainly MMA is something I'm still very interested in,” he said.

“It's my bread and butter - this is where I came from. This is always going to be in my heart.

“Of course, Bare Knuckle FC wanted an exclusive contract, but my management team at Gagarin Sports Management have done a great job and secured a non-exclusive contract where I'm able to compete in MMA.

“I don't have an exact deal on the table just yet. But I know there are many negotiations going on in the background between my management team and other promotions.

"Who knows? Maybe sooner than later you'll see me in the MMA cage as well,” he added.