Sad news for the MMA world today, as news has broken that Meme Icon and cherished MMA persona Artem Lobov is officially stepping away from a life of professional fighting. First reported by MMA Plus, Lobov first hinted at this retirement after a Bare-Knuckle loss to Denys Berinchyk at Mahatch FC.
Artem Lobov is more of a supernatural entity than a living human for a lot of MMA fans. In fact, if Artem Lobov truly stays retired, he has to go down as the fighter with the worst record to leave the biggest impact on the MMA community. With a record of 14-15-1NC in MMA and a Bare-Knuckle record of 2-2, you could look at the resume of Lobov and dismiss him as a mediocre fighter. While instead, he is so much more.
The Man Behind the Legend of Artem Lobov
While many could judge the man by his record, true fans will judge Lobov by his impact. It’s all about the mark you leave on the sport, and Artem Lobov has been transcendent in two (MMA and Bare-Knuckle Boxing).
Initially famous because he’s a training partner and a friend of Conor Mcgregor, Lobov’s other paths to notoriety include being a star on the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter, headlining big BKFC cards and putting on great fights, and being a Meme Icon to name a few. If you’ve followed the sport long enough, you’ve seen the memes. The classic “29 men have tried, 15 have succeeded,” meme was one of the funniest to go viral. Then you have the classic “Artem Lobov is the GOAT,” meme. Last but not least, someone started photoshopping images of Lobov and his arms, turning his already short and stubby arms into a comical take on T-Rex arms. Needless to say, as memes tend to be, they were and still are hilarious!
The Love Behind the Memes
Someone on the outside looking in could hear about those memes and think there could be ill-will behind them. However, they couldn’t be further from the truth if they believed so. Artem Lobov is beloved. Not because of his record, because of who he is. How many other Russian-Irish MMA icons do we have? Lobov is unique, and one of a kind.
Even his fighting style, while never proven to be world-class, was exciting in itself. Artem Lobov comes forward, and he just wants to land brutal shots to the head. He eats whatever damage he has to, to accomplish his goal. It’s the stuff of fiction honestly, and the fact that his career has had as much longevity as it did is a testament to the love the MMA community has for him and the heart he possesses.
The Road to Retirement
Lobov broke into the UFC after his stint on TUF but was released from the promotion following a 2-4 run. This wouldn’t be enough to stop “The Russian Hammer” though, and Artem Lobov made the transition to BKFC which was successful, by any means.
At BKFC 5, Lobov would make his debut in the world of Bare-Knuckle fighting, facing Jason Knight. Whom was no easy win. Holding a 21-6 professional MMA record, this would also be Knight’s debut Bare-Knuckle fight as well. The fight was a war and got many nods for being one of the best fights of 2019. Lobov would get the most important nod though, from the judges, and walked away as the victor via unanimous decision.
Next, “The Russian Hammer” would be matched with perhaps one of the greatest tests of his career, in Paul “Paulie” Malignaggi, a former boxing champion in two different weight classes. There was a lot of hype behind this one stemming from beef Malignaggi had with Mcgregor, Lobov’s close friend, and “Paulie” vowed to put “The Russian Hammer” into a coma. In reality, Lobov would win the fight, and earn his second straight win in the BKFC.
The Losses That Lead To Lost Passion
Good things always come to an end, and for Lobov, the good thing that was new life to his fighting career in BKFC would end at BKFC 9. It was the rematch of Lobov and Knight, and this time, things ended differently. Losing in the fifth round due to corner stoppage, “The Russian Hammer’s” two-fight win streak was officially dead.
This leads us back to the present, and Lobov’s recent fight with Berinchyk at Mahatch FC. Berinchyk finished Lobov in the fifth round by TKO, and after the fight, “The Russian Hammer” hinted at his retirement in the post-fight interview. His comments were recorded by VMTV.
“…If I go out, then I try against the strongest and aim for the stars. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll be close to the moon. Congratulations, Denys. It was a great honor for me to perform here. Most likely, I will (retire). There is no fire in the heart that there used to be,” said Artem Lobov.
So, do you think Artem Lobov is done for good? Does he ever get that “fire” back, and that passion for fighting? What would you like to see? Leave your thoughts down in the comments below!
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images