'We have to settle it like men': Artem Lobov demands fight with Khabib teammate Zubaira Tukhugov
Speaking to RT Sport following his signing to Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, Lobov, a longtime teammate and training partner of Conor McGregor, made clear he still very much wanted to face Tukhugov, who was part of Nurmagomedov’s team during the UFC 229 fracas in Las Vegas, and now serves a one year ban for his
"Absolutely. That was the main reason I stayed in the UFC," he said.
"In August of last year I was in talks with Bare Knuckle FC and I was very close to signing a deal with them.
"But I knew I had to get Tukhugov first. I knew I had to get that fight done - that's the reason I remained in the UFC for a year.
"What is the point in staying there if I can't get the fight I want and I can make a lot more money elsewhere? If we look at the deal I was able to secure now, I will be earning more than 90% of the UFC's fighters. For a prizefighter, that is success."
Despite leaving the UFC for pastures new, Lobov says he still believes he will cross paths with Tukhugov, either in the ring or inside the cage. He just has to wait until the Russian’s one-year Nevada State Athletic Commission suspension for his involvement in the UFC 229 melee has been served.
"I see that fight definitely happening," he stated.
"At least on my part, I'm ready to take that fight whenever, any weight class, any discipline. So we'll have to wait until he's back fighting and we'll begin the talks then."
And Lobov said that he doesn’t mind whether the matchup takes place in Bare Knuckle FC or in a mixed martial arts promotion elsewhere. Lobov’s contract with Bare Knuckle FC is a non-exclusive deal, and one that would allow him to compete in MMA elsewhere.
"To be honest, I don't care. I just want that fight," he explained.
"That fight has to happen. But looking at it, it will probably be in MMA.
"Everybody knows Tukhugov's strength is in his wrestling, so it wouldn't make much sense to meet me in Bare Knuckle. But if he wanted to do it there, I'm all for it.
"I’ve never turned down a fight in my life. I take whoever, whenever. I don't pull out of fights, so I'm always ready to go. So it will make no difference to me where that fight takes place - what promotion, or what location. It doesn't matter," he added.
And while the rivalry between Nurmagomedov and McGregor is showing no signs of easing, Lobov says that once he and Tukhugov have faced each other in a bout, he’s prepared to draw a line under his issues with his opponent.
"To me, it's not about conflict. I just feel we have to settle it in the cage," he said.
"MMA is where this conflict started, and MMA is where we need to finish it. We have to settle it like men. One on one, in the cage, and let's see what happens. Then there will be no conflict after that."Also on rt.com Conor McGregor still wants Khabib rematch, says teammate Artem Lobov (VIDEO)