Artem Lobov is expecting history to repeat itself at UFC 257.
Lobov, Conor McGregor‘s longtime training partner and close friend, is making his return to the MMA world on December 12 after a stint in bare-knuckle boxing. He went 2-1 in BKFC, picking up a pair of wins over Jason Knight and Paulie Malignaggi before being stopped by Knight in a rematch. He recently sat down with our very own Jordan Ellis to discuss a number of subjects, from his upcoming fight at Arena Fight Championship 2 in France to a potential boxing match between McGregor and Jake Paul. Also talked about was, of course, McGregor’s upcoming rematch on January 23.
“I see it going the same way,” Lobov said. “People always say Poirier is a different fighter. I think he’s the same fighter. He was a great fighter back then. He was a top-five featherweight, he was destroying guys, stopping guys left, right and center. If he had won that fight against Conor, he was going to be fighting for the title next, most likely… He was a beast then, Conor just beat him, and he went back to being a beast again. I just feel that Conor’s style is just too much for Poirier, and I feel it’s going to go exactly the same way as it went the first time.”
Though Lobov may be confident in his teammate pulling out the victory, it’s not because of the amount of time he’s personally spent preparing him for the fight. In fact, Lobov said that despite both of them being in camps for upcoming fights, gathering restrictions have limited the amount of time they’ve spent training together.
“We’re in camp at the same time, but we haven’t really had a chance to train together much this time around because of corona,” Lobov said. “Obviously travel has been difficult and you have to quarantine for two weeks anytime you left Ireland and were coming back. So that made it just unfeasible, and as a result we really didn’t get a chance to train together much. But I know Conor is in great shape. The team is out there, John (Kavanagh) is there as well, they have a great team out there. He’s going to be ready come January.”
UFC 257 still doesn’t have an official home as of yet, but Lobov said he is sure to be there to cheer on his teammate as long as travel restrictions allow it. You can bet McGregor is sure to be cheering his friend on for his fight next Saturday.
Lobov’s MMA comeback sees him face off against top French prospect Ylies Djiroun. The 28-year-old suffered a pair of tough, split-decision losses during the PFL’s 2019 season, but bounced back with a win in his last fight, which took place last December. This will be Lobov’s first MMA fight since October 2018, when Michael Johnson handed him his third straight loss to end his UFC career. Overall, he went 2-5 in the organization with wins over Chris Avila and Teruto Ishihara. His contract with AFC is only for this one fight, leaving open the possibilities of him resigning with the organization or returning to bare-knuckle boxing afterwards.
Do you agree with Artem Lobov that McGregor pick up another win over Poirier?