Former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard announced back in April that he would be testing the waters at 170 pounds for the first time in his 38-fight career.
On Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour yesterday afternoon, Lombard hinted that the UFC gave him an ultimatum to drop to welterweight or be handed his pink slip after going 1-2 at middleweight inside the Octagon (transcription via Mixedmartialarts.com).
"That wasn't my plans, UFC wanted me to go to 170. They believe that I have, that I will perform better at 170 than 185. I have to do what the bosses say you know. Can't argue with the bosses. If it were up to me, I would have stayed at 185. I have to be disciplined and I have to do what they want me to do. I've been training hard and I think I will be able to make it and I will be able to perform better that way."
After an incredible 25-fight unbeaten streak (24 wins, 1 draw) between February 2007 and November 2011, it made sense that "Lightning" was the hottest free agent on the market.
Naysayers who said that the Cuban-Australian Judoka faced weak opposition during that time frame were arguably right, as Lombard dropped split decisions against Tim Boetsch and Yushin Okami inside the Octagon.
However, he did score a vintage knockout over dangerous submission specialist Rousimar Palhares in December of last year, which occurred in between the two aforementioned losses.
Marquardt, also an ex-Pancrase middleweight champion, has lost back-to-back bouts to Tarec Saffiedine and Jake Ellenberger, so the loser of Marquardt vs. Lombard this fall will more than likely be handed their walking papers.
Has welterweight been the proper home for Lombard all along, or will the drastic weight quick hinder his cardio and devastating KO power?