UFC Moncton: Artem Lobov Wants to be Released if UFC Cuts Zubaira Tukhugov

Khabib Nurmagomedov has claimed he’s going to walk from the UFC if the promotion cuts his teammate, Zubaira Tukhugov, and now, Artem Lobov has delivered a similar message.

Lobov was supposed to fight Tukhugov this Saturday at UFC Moncton. But, due to the latter’s reported involvement in the post-fight brawl at UFC 229, Michael Johnson was tapped as a replacement. Immediately after the incident at UFC 229, Dana White said that if evidence came forward that Nurmagomedov’s teammates attacked Conor McGregor in the Octagon, they would be released. Khabib followed that up by saying he’d leave the promotion, if indeed, Tukhugov was cut.

Well, Lobov was a guest on Ariel Helwani’s ESPN show recently, and he had this to say about the situation (quotes via MMA Mania):

“If they cut him, I want to be gone as well,” Lobov said. “I will fight him in ACB, Bellator or any league he wants to do it. But I will get him. It has to be done inside the Octagon. I want to look this man in the eyes, one-on-one. Once you’re inside that Octagon, it’s one-on-one. Your skill versus his skill. Your heart versus his heart. I want to test his heart in the Octagon. I want to see what he’s got.”

“I’m only doing this (against Johnson) because I was already ready to go and I haven’t fought in a year,” Lobov said. “For many reasons, I have to take this fight. But make no mistake, I want Zubaira.”

”We need this win, but I don’t feel the pressure. To me, this is one step closer to getting Zubaira back. There is nothing else on my mind. That’s the only thing I can even think of. I’m not going to rest, I’m not going to sleep, until I get him back.”

How about that huh? There’s no question that due to the Team Khabib vs. Team Conor angle here, Lobov – Tukhugov would be a big fight, and really, at this point, it could probably headline a Fight Night card. But, the UFC would definitely be playing with fire by booking that match-up, and as it stands right now, we haven’t heard White say that Tukhugov won’t be released.

Now, if Lobov ends up being cut by the UFC (that could happen if he loses to Michael Johnson this Saturday, as he’s lost two straight and is 2-4 in the UFC), and Tukhugov is released, would another promotion book that bout. Yup. No doubt about it.

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