Hector Lombard addresses the possiblity of facing Robbie Lawler
As much as Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier can’t wait to tear each other’s heads off on Saturday night, Hector Lombard might be the one person on the UFC 182 card more excited than both of them to finally fight again.
Lombard has been on the shelf for nearly 10 months waiting for a fight after pummeling former welterweight title contender Jake Shields in his last bout in March 2014. In his down time, Lombard has seemingly called out every top 10 fighter on the roster including his teammate Tyron Woodley and No. 5 ranked welterweight Matt Brown.
When no other fight could be found for the hulking 170-pounder from Cuba, the UFC ultimately brought back Ultimate Fighter season 2 competitor Josh Burkman to face Lombard at UFC 182 this weekend.
"I wasn’t waiting. I was put on hold, but I’m coming back. I’ve got the opportunity to fight again and I’m pretty happy about that. I can’t wait for Saturday night," Lombard told FOX Sports.
"No one’s calling me out. They had to sign somebody from another organization to fight me. It looks like I’m a ghost or something."
I love Robbie. Me and Robbie’s different than me and Tyron Woodley. You have no clue what happened there, but I love Robbie
— Hector Lombard
Since dropping down to welterweight in the latter part of 2013, Lombard has instantly become one of the most talked about fighters on the roster. While he found a lot of success at middleweight when fighting in smaller organizations, Lombard was always considered undersized at 185-pounds where he routinely gave up five or six inches in height to his opponents.
Now as a welterweight, Lombard’s massive frame remains in tact and the power he possessed in the bigger division seems to have carried over. He starched Nate Marquardt in his debut before dismantling Shields last March. Lombard’s frustration with welterweights ducking him left and right leaves him to wonder — is he already the most feared fighter in the world at 170-pounds?
"If no one wants to fight me, what does that make you think?" Lombard stated.
As happy as Lombard is to be back fighting this weekend, there’s still an underlying cynicism in his voice about facing someone like Burkman, who is a veteran with a good but he isn’t ranked and probably won’t move the former Judo Olympian any closer to a title shot in 2015.
The long term goal for Lombard is to get a crack at the welterweight title although that also brings up another interesting problem he’s faced with in the new year. Lombard’s teammate and sparring partner Robbie Lawler just claimed the belt with a win over Johny Hendricks in December.
Lawler is set to rematch Hendricks at some point in 2015, but assuming he holds onto the belt, the question then becomes would Lombard actually pursue a fight with his teammate?
Lombard had no problem calling out fellow top 10 welterweight Tyron Woodley, who is also a member of American Top Team — the camp the trio of fighters share as their home base. Lombard even went on a smear campaign when Woodley refused to accept the fight, noting the teammate vs. teammate scenario.
So would he do the same thing to Lawler if he’s in a position to fight for the title?
"I love Robbie. Me and Robbie’s different than me and Tyron Woodley. You have no clue what happened there, but I love Robbie," Lombard said. "I don’t know if you know this, but I wanted him to win the belt. I knew he was going to win it.
"Nicest guy around, I like him a lot. Now that he’s the champion, well I liked him before he was the champion. All the best for him."
Despite his adoration for Lawler as a friend and teammate, there’s still the overhanging question about Lombard actually going for the belt while he has the title. In the long run, Lombard would likely take the fight if he was offered a chance at the title, no matter who was holding it, but he’d have to put a lot more thought into a matchup with Lawler than probably anyone else in the division.
"I’ll fight my mom," Lombard joked when asked if he would fight Lawler. "He’s the champion we’ve got to respect that. I’ve got to fight Josh Burkman on Saturday night and then we’ll go from there. Like I said before, mine and Robbie’s situation is different than me and Tyron Woodley."