UFC Grants Artem Lobov’s Requested Release from Promotion

Artem Lobov, UFC Moncton
Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Let the Artem Lobov bidding war begin! The fan-favorite featherweight is no longer with the UFC at his request, and is looking at different promotions and sports for his landing spot.

ESPN’s Ariel Helwani first reported the release of Artem Lobov, citing “The GOAT” himself.

Artem Lobov tweeted the following after his release was reported:

This tweeted was followed by several others targeted at K-1 and GLORY Kickboxing, boxers Paulie Malignaggi and Amir Khan, and the sport of boxing as a whole:

“The Russian Hammer” had three fights left on his contract with the UFC. Lobov went 2-5 during his Octagon run, losing his last three. Two of those, however, were in main/co-main event slots. Despite a less-than-desirable career record of 13-15-1 (1 no contest), Lobov’s attitude and association with Conor McGregor earned him a strong fan following, leading to him being booked in an apparent mismatch with perennial top contender Cub Swanson in a main event (the fight turned out great).

Lobov was also by McGregor’s side during the UFC 223 debacle, in which McGregor threw a dolly at a fighter bus, injuring both Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg. Lobov was supposed to fight on that card, but was pulled due to his involvement in the fiasco.

Back at the start though, Lobov got his break on the 22nd season of The Ultimate Fighter, coached by teammate Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber. After losing in the entry fight, Lobov was called back to the show after Dana White allowed each coach to pick one eliminated fighter to rejoin the cast. He went on to knockout all three fighters he faced on his way to the finals, but fell to jiu-jitsu ace Ryan Hall in the finale.

With his last fight prior to joining the TUF cast taking place in ACB (now known as ACA), Lobov could certainly be heading back to Russia. Or he could follow the path of teammate Charlie Ward, who went to Bellator after his short stint in the UFC.