` UFC Fight Night 108: Swanson out to silence McGregor training partner in Nashville - Fighters Only Magazine

UFC Fight Night 108: Swanson out to silence McGregor training partner in Nashville

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There's a sense beating Artem Lobov on Saturday night (April 22) is the closest Cub Swanson will ever get to putting hands on former UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor. If you can't beat him, beat his training partner. Or something like that.


Lobov, of course, is a close friend and sparring partner of McGregor, while Swanson is a featherweight contender who, like everyone else ranked between featherweight and welterweight, would love nothing more than the chance to fight the Irish cash cow currently dangling two combat sports - MMA and boxing - on a string.


For now, though, Swanson, 33, will happily take what he can get. That means Artem Lobov and a date in Nashville, Tennessee for UFC Fight Night 108.


The fight marks Swanson's first of 2017, following a busy 2016, which is reason enough, I suppose, for the American to take it, reason enough for him to risk his number four ranking against an unranked featherweight. He also gets to unmask a man he believes wouldn't be a UFC featherweight if it wasn't for the McGregor connection.


Lobov is a 30-year-old Russian now based in Dublin, Ireland with 12 career losses to his name. He has 13 wins working against the L-column, but, even so, it's no stretch to say the SBG fighter represents a step-down for Swanson when stacked against the featherweights the Californian has previously faced and toppled. It's for this reason many have questioned the logic behind Swanson going ahead with the fight; reasonable risk, low reward, Swanson, they say, should be looking ahead, not behind him.


Still, for Lobov, it's a hell of an opportunity. Unheralded, he is coming off back-to-back wins, the last of which was against Teruto Ishihara in Belfast, and has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Beat Swanson, a man coming off a 2016 'Fight of the Year' thriller with Doo Ho Choi, and he claims the biggest win of his 13-year MMA career. Better yet, he steps out of McGregor's sizeable shadow.


“Cub has been one of those guys that I've looked at for a long time and thought, 'He would be a great fight for me; it would be a fight,'” Artem told UFC.com. “You don't see many fights anymore, and I feel that with Cub, it would be one of them. It would be a good one for the fans, a great one for me to be involved in, and I feel that it would go down in history as one of the greatest fights of all-time potentially.”


Swanson, 24-7, would likely shoot a sideways glance upon hearing this last line. Not that he wouldn't welcome another 'Fight of the Year' contender, more that he believes he's a level or two above Lobov and that the greatest fights of all-time typically require some sort of parity between the two competitors involved. This, at least on paper, is different. Indeed, Swanson, the heavy favourite, believes Lobov has got the fight not because he deserves it but because he begged for it – and not even politely.


“It's funny – I've got to respect his guts to want to shoot up so high, to take a fight like this, but, at the same time, I think the way he's doing it is disrespectful,” Swanson said to UFC.com. “A lot of the guys that have been around for a while don't appreciate it. I don't mind if you talk crap about me if you say something that is true. What am I going to say if it's true? But if you start saying blatant lies, that upsets me.


“At this stage of my career, I don't have any problems with people, but, if I'm going to get paid a good amount of money to put a guy down that's been talking shit about me, I don't have any problems with that.”


It's not McGregor, Cub, but it's probably the next best thing.