Hector Lombard entered the UFC, riding on the most hype of any UFC newbie since Brock Lesnar. On a 25 fight win streak, which is damn near impossible to pull off in MMA, and fighting style reminiscent of former Boxing heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson.
With all his wins, KO highlights, and chiseled frame, Lombard has gone 1-3 since joining the UFC middleweight division. Yet with two split decision losses and one highlight reel KO finish against three of the best the middleweights can offer, it’s obvious Lombard has a place in the UFC, albeit a small one at this point.
UFC President Dana White even likes Lombard in the UFC still. It’s just the division he fights in that has everyone raising their eyebrows at this point.
Watching Lombard fight, obviously he’s capable of putting his opponents out, but he needs to consider a more aggressive fighting style to ensure he still wins the points battle if he can’t find the KO finish beforehand.
What Lombard fails to see in my opinion, is that regardless of his ability to turn the race in to a sprint, the analogy usually plays out like marathon, and other fighters can beat him if he allows them to dictate the pace.
With recent reports of Lombard going on ‘The Dolce Diet’ by world renowned MMA trainer Mike Dolce, he’s said he wants to test a weight cut to 170 before officially calling the new lighter weight class, home.
This opens a very interesting set of options for the former middleweight contender. The welterweights are a very dangerous group of fighters these days. In fact, many of them were top contenders in the welterweight division and cut down to welterweight themselves recently.
Virtually anyone within the top ten of the 170’ers would be a fun match-up for Lombard.
So to kick things off, I say give him Demian Maia, of whom also cut down from 185 recently. Maia was definitely flying under the radar when he dropped weight in July of last year against Dong Hyun Kim, after an impressive yet dwindling record of 9-4 (UFC).
Most people, including myself, thought he was pretty much done. No one saw his 3-0 tear at 170 coming. He absolutely ran through Kim, Rick Story, and Jon Fitch. What better way to test out Lombard’s skills at the new weight class as someone who has made an identical transition from 185 to 170 as well?
Another fighter who has recently found a rebirth in his MMA career is former Strikeforce contender Robbie Lawler. With his career in shambles after his last fight being a lost to Lorenz Larken, it seemed likely he was on his way out of the sport.
Yet after getting smothered by Josh Koscheck in his first fight back with the UFC in February, he managed to reverse Koscheck in a mad scramble against the cage, and deliver a quick KO, late in the first round. Now he’s back, and with a win against a top 10 contender like Koscheck, he is definitely a worthy opponent and not someone to shy away from a stand up battle, given the opportunity.
This matchup is the most intriguing at 170 because neither fighter would look to win by points. This one would be settled, one way or another, before the final bell. Of course the buzz kill is that Lawler is set to fight Tarec Saffiedine at UFC on Fox 8 in July.
Yet there are less active fighters still lingering in the spotlight without any plans to step in to the cage at the moment. Foremost of them at the moment is Nick Diaz. Coming off a loss to current champ Georges St. Pierre, he’s claiming to be retired again.
But he’s always claiming retirement after a loss these days, and since he isn’t going to get the rematch with Georges or a super-fight with Anderson Silva like he’s been asking for, his best bet is to take a fight with Hector Lombard.
Both of these guys have a very loyal fan base, both love to hate their opponents, and in this case, both will carry a lot of interest from fans in to a fight against each other.
So with Maia seemingly the best fit, Lawler the most intriguing, that leaves Jake Ellenberger and Carlos Condit as the most dangerous opponents left for Lombard.
Both of these fighters will take the fight wherever it needs to go to win. Condit will out point Lombard if given the chance, and Ellenberger has the capability of taking an overly tentative Hector Lombard’s head off.
Now where Lombard has failed to succeed at middleweight, he will have a chance at welterweight. Of course he’s gotta survive the weight cut, but if anyone one was capable of giving him the tools necessary to succeed at it, Mike Dolce would be the man for the job.
Look to see Lombard regain prominent standings in the MMA world once again.