UFC Fight Night 108 Preview
Every now and then a fighter gets a massive opportunity to prove themselves against a fighter that they never seem to be at the same level of at this point.
In the UFC the chances have generally come after a fighter can prove themselves over a number of fights.
There have always been fighters who have come in and immediately made an impression or fighters that have seemed to do everything right only to be passed over.
That happens in every major sport though and the UFC is not immune to those strange decisions, although they have seemed to make more recently.
Fighters will always have to prove themselves as even the best talkers and the fighters that can sell tickets only go as far as their talents will take them.
They can be the biggest sell in the promotion but if they lose fights and get embarrassed in the octagon they will only last so long.
As fighters move their way up they do encounter tiers of talent and there are plenty of fighters sitting at the bottom and middle tiers.
These are not the fighters that ever get their chance at the title though as they can stay in the middle and bottom ranks and keep winning but they will never find their way to the ultimate prize.
That is where that top exclusive group of fighters come in as these are the fighters that are right in the hunt for a title.
These fighters are the best in the world as they are a part of the best promotion in the world with the deepest pool of talent.
Getting to that top tier is a challenge as they need to find their way there through a lot of winning or a lot of talking.
No matter how they get there the only thing that matters is how they do when that shot comes up because they won’t get a lot of them.
That is especially true of those fighters who talk their way into the top tier of fighters, as the UFC will give a great talker a shot but if they get easily beat getting back to that spot is that much tougher.
That is the situation that Artem Lobov finds himself at UFC Fight Night 108 as the Russian rides a two-fight win streak into his main event fight.
After his last win against Teruto Ishihara Lobov took a page out of his training partner, Conor McGregor’s book and called out a top tier fighter.
That fighter was Cub Swanson who moved into the top three of the featherweight division after an absolute war in Toronto.
He beat Doo Ho Choi at UFC 206 in what was largely considered the 2016 Fight of the Year, a three-round standing battle where both fighters seemed out of it at one point or another.
He has yet to fight since that time but with a bit of an extended recovery time, he is ready to get back to it and move his way up the rankings.
Swanson has been fighting professionally since 2004 and has been in the UFC since 2011 with plenty of ups and downs.
He responded to the call-out by Lobov by accepting the fight and took a big risk doing that.
If he loses his progress made from his great fight last year is lost as he took a loss to a fighter that isn’t even ranked in the division.
If he wins it doesn’t do a lot for his career either as Lobov is a good fighter but he is not a fighter that will get Swanson to the title shot.
Instead, he is just looking to get the win and get back to active as he hopes to use 2017 to move into the title conversation.
For Lobov, this is a massive opportunity for a fighter that has not necessarily been as stable as the UFC likes.
He has a two-fight win streak but before that lost two straight starting with the final fight in The Ultimate Fighter.
He could be just hitting his stride right now and getting comfortable in the UFC or maybe he just isn’t a good enough fighter to move up.
He gets his chance to prove which one is right and his one massive x-factor is the fact that he trains with one of the biggest names and best fighters in the UFC in Conor McGregor.
Seeing McGregor every day gets him prepared to deal with awkward striking and power but putting it together hasn’t been the easiest thing.
Swanson will bring his tough striking style that he showcased against Choi and has been claiming to be ready to knockout Lobov.
That could be his strategy against another strong striker but Swanson is also a jiu-jitsu black belt and Lobov doesn’t have the same level of ground game.
It’s a big risk for Swanson and a big opportunity for Lobov but only one will take the advantage and start off their 2017 with a big win.