Hector Lombard strutted to the Octagon on Saturday night looking like a walking advertisement for his new employer. Where most sponsored fighters sport one or two pieces of attire adorned with the sponsors logo, Lombard pulled off layer after layer of UFC branded clothing before he was ready to step into the Octagon.
I don’t want to read too much into the situation, but it appeared as if the UFC’s marketing department was clearly behind the promotion’s latest big signing. And before the fight with Tim Boetsch at UFC 149, there was no reason for them not to push Lombard. The former Bellator middleweight champion was on a 25-fight unbeaten streak when he signed with the UFC and there was immediate buzz that he was shortlisted as a potential opponent for UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
The odds were in Lombard’s favor entering the fight. He entered the bout as the (-380) favorite over Boetsch. However, we all know that the fight is not contested on paper, and 15 minutes after the Octagon door locked behind the fighters, Boetsch was having his hand raised in victory.
One can imagine that the bettors that had put money on Lombard were tearing up their betting slips and letting them fall to the floor, while the Boetsch bettors ran to the betting cages to collect their spoils.
It was an odd fight for Lombard. For 15 minutes, fans waited for him to unleash the heavy hands that had knocked out 17 of his previous opponents, but the onslaught never came. Instead, Lombard stood flatfooted and tentative and it cost him the decision, leaving fans wondering where the Lombard they expected to see had gone.
Lombard probably should fight at 170, he made (1)85 easy. He’s short and wide, but I think he can make 70. 70’s no joke either, 70’s a very tough division. This is one of those things, the guy was on a 25-fight win streak, a lot of hype behind him, people have been talking about him forever. Guys that fight in other organizations end up in top ten rankings and it’s a whole other world over here.
Does a drop to welterweight make sense for Lombard?
One has to wonder, could the UFC boss be experiencing buyer’s remorse over his latest big-name signing, or was he simply blowing off steam after witnessing a disappointing performance from Lombard? It’s hard to tell, but to go from suggesting that Lombard was one win away from a title shot at 185 to saying that he may be better off at 170, that’s a pretty big change of opinion.
In the coming days we’ll see where this goes. Will Lombard heed the words of White and elect to drop to 170, or will he look for a shot at redemption at 185? Either way, it will be very interesting to see who UFC matchmaker Joe Silva puts him up against in his next contest.