Artem Lobov says he's 'exploring angles' outside of the Octagon

Lobov spoke to Peter Carroll about the launch of his new apparel brand, Vesuvius, and the importance of exploring ventures outside of the Octagon

Artem Lobov

Image: Dave Fogarty

Artem Lobov is celebrated as one of the gamest MMA fighters in Europe.

The SBG featherweight recently fought in his first UFC main event and despite coming up short against perennial featherweight contender Cub Swanson, his popularity is soaring higher than ever.

Known for his brutal striking displays and his willingness to exchange with the most devastating knockout artists, for a long time, Lobov had no interest in anything but fighting.

Yet, after a chance conversation with former light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at the UFC fighter retreat in Las Vegas, Lobov is using his heightened profile to look at business options away from the Octagon.

"A lot of people don’t think about life after the UFC, I was probably was one of those people until my conversation with Rashad Evans at the UFC retreat," Lobov said.

"I bumped into him and we connected over a few beers. He’s a nice guy and he was very helpful. He gave me some very good advice.

"He told me that I should be using my platform right now while I’m in the news cycle, and use that to invest in my future.

"The position I’m in now creates many opportunities. If you just let them go past you and don’t take advantage of them, they will just go past you.

"All of the things Rashad said really hit home and I decided that I had to start making things happen for myself."

Artem Lobov in action against Teruto Ishihara at a UFC Fight Night event in Belfast last year. Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey

Lobov enjoyed some R&R in Vegas, as proven in several Instagram posts from Neil Seery, but he was always aware that there were a lot of influential people that he could talk to about investing in his future. According to 'The Russian Hammer' he recognized an opportunity to bend Evans' ear about his future when he sat down for a drink with the Irish MMA duo.

"At the time, me and Neil Seery were having a few drinks at the resort and we just connected with Rashad by chance. We were having a little chat and then the next thing you know, we’re talking business. This is how these things happen.

"A lot of fighters were there just to party. They didn’t see what was going on around them. They didn’t recognize the opportunity to exchange ideas and seek out advice.

"Don’t get me wrong, I treated it like a holiday too, but good businessmen can always combine business and pleasure. That’s exactly what I did. I had time to relax and I managed to do some business. That’s the Russian-Irish way," he laughed.

Brand

This week, Lobov will launch his new apparel company, 'Vesuvius' along with two friends he met in his DCU days.

Having tried and tested a broad range of apparel throughout the years as he made his ascent in the MMA world, Lobov believes his new clothing line will cater to all ranges of athletes, from the weekly gym visitor to professional athletes.

"I’ve decided to launch an apparel brand along with my two college friends," he said. "One is a marketing guy and one is an accountant.

"We’re going to specialize in training gear. Not specifically combat sports training, but for a wide variety of sports. I want it to be universal. If you just got to the gym once a week this gear will cater for your needs, but as well as that, if you are a professional fighter like me, this gear will cater for that also.

"This gear has been tried and tested by professional athletes and it is for professional athletes. We’re very excited about the launch.

"We chose the name ‘Vesuvius’ because it conjures up images of explosivity, something that goes hand in hand with intense training. It’s a very visual name too because of the famous volcano in Italy. I think it fits out concept perfectly." 

Lobov weighs in. Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey

Lobov has always lambasted fighters who complain about their situations within the UFC. He believes fighters need to use their own initiative to create opportunities, rather than waiting to be handed a potentially lucrative option by the promotion.

"First you have to work for your reputation, then your reputation will work for you. I have worked my whole life to be in this situation.

"Who are the people who are always complaining in the UFC? It’s the f**king losers. The successful guys in the UFC, they never complain.

"We’re all the same. In the vast majority of cases, we all started out with the same UFC contract. Everybody gets the same platform to promote themselves, but it’s up to the individual to make things happen."

On top of his apparel venture, Lobov is currently in Russia where he will commentate on the upcoming Fight Nights card. He revealed that commentary is another avenue he would like to explore with the constant rumours of UFC looking to host events in Russia.

"You have to develop yourself in many different areas. I believe everyone gets opportunities in life, but they have to be ready to jump all over them when they come around.

"I want to become a successful commentator, and in the future, who knows what will happen?

"The UFC are looking to move into Russia. Who is going to commentate for them? It’s going to have to be a guy that speaks Russian, that’s me. Preferably a fighter, I tick that box too. Of course, the person they choose will also need commentating experience. That’s what I’m working on right now. If the opportunity ever comes around, I’ll be there waiting for it."

Lobov is adamant that if his new ventures outside of the Octagon hindered his fighting career, he would never have pursued them. True to his word, ‘The Russian Hammer’ has already been in contact with UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby about a fight on the upcoming UFC Glasgow card, where his good pal Seery will fight for the final time.

“I wanted to fight in Glasgow. I sent Sean Shelby a message. I gave him the list of every fighter who has called me out. I told him I would be happy to fight any of them and failing that, anyone that the UFC want to put in front of me.

"He has heard my message and I hope to hear back from him soon, but as of yet, I have no indication of anything."

@PetesyCarroll