Is Hector Lombard a Legitimate Threat to Georges St-Pierre?

Dustin FilloyFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2013

Oct 18, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Hector Lombard during the weigh-in for UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

Nearly eight months ago, Hector Lombard lost his second fight in three outings in the UFC, and the former Olympian judoka appeared desperate to make a change.

Following his loss to Yushin Okami in March, Lombard made what many considered an unlikely weight cut to 170 pounds for his bout at UFC 166. The hulking welterweight immediately made the decision look fruitful when he scored an incredibly imposing and swift KO of UFC vet Nate Marquardt on Saturday.

He undoubtedly made the proper choice to descend to welterweight, but could Lombard really make a run at Georges St-Pierre and the 170-pound strap?

Lombard fought Marquardt with his hands at his waist before using a series of explosive punches to drop and eventually finish the former Strikeforce welterweight linchpin in just 108 seconds.

Akin to fellow fighters who've enjoyed similar benefits from cutting weight, Lombard suddenly went from a fighter on the hot seat to instant contender in the welterweight division.

His tools and physical stature became buzz topics after the fight, and his split-decision losses to middleweights Okami and Tim Boetsch became things of the past.

The Cuban-born judoka surprised fans and humbly credited UFC president Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva for inspiring the change in weight classes at the UFC 166 post-fight press conference.

I feel great [and] I think that Dana White and Joe Silva, they were right for me going down to 170. I do think that he [White] knows more than anybody in the game, because he's been around forever, so he made the sport where it is today. He proved today that he knows what he's saying. [He said], 'You have to go to 170.' So I did it.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 15:  Hector Lombard reacts after the Middleweight bout between Hector Lombard and  Rousimar Palhares at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on December 15, 2012 on the Gold Coast, Australia.  (Photo by Matt Roberts
Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Lombard then admitted that he'd ideally like to take bouts at both 170 and 185, a notion that White quickly threw cold water on.

"I would love to [bounce between divisions], but like I said, it's not up to me [pointing at White]," Lombard said. "It's up to you [White]. He is the one who calls the shots."

"I like him at 170," White responded. "I don't like bouncing. Bouncing is bad."

Lombard obviously possesses some of the best finishing skills in the division. However, his technical striking ability and wrestling prowess would prevent him from keeping up with the division's top dogs.

More complete fighters like champ Georges St-Pierre, Johny Hendricks (No. 1-ranked contender), Carlos Condit (No. 2) or Rory MacDonald (No. 3) each have the tools to dismantle Lombard.

St-Pierre and MacDonald would grind out victories over Lombard, Condit would pick him apart, and Hendricks would beat him at his own game.

The 35-year-old Lombard certainly gave himself another chance to climb the ladder in the UFC with his move to 170. But if he wants to get high-profile matches against guys like GSP and Bigg Rigg, he'll first need to get through established contenders like Jake Ellenberger (No. 4), Demian Maia (No. 5) or Martin Kampmann (No. 7).