Hector Lombard: Future UFC Champion?

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Hector Lombard: Future UFC Champion?
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Hector Lombard matches up favorably with each and every welterweight in the UFC's stacked 170-pound division. 

"Lightning" Lombard rode into the UFC in July 2012 as one of the most feared middleweights on the planet. 

He was knocking dudes out—ferociously—inside the Bellator cage, and he was 31-2-2 in professional MMA action. 

He had never been finished, but he finished 24 opponents in 31 wins. 

He was a savage. 

And he totally flopped inside the Octagon. 

After a disappointing 1-2 stint to begin his UFC career, Lombard's stock plummeted like the Cincinnati Bengals' record in January (have they ever even won a game in January?). 

At middleweight, the former Bellator champion was outsized, outmuscled and out-grappled. He looked terrible. 

At a stocky 5'9", Lombard soon realized that his frame was better suited for a lighter weight class, however, and his dominance was restored after a drop to welterweight. 

He knocked out Nate Marquardt at UFC 166 in just under two minutes, then he dismantled Jake Shields for 15 minutes at UFC 171

In these two victories, we saw the greatness that is Lombard's full potential. 

On one hand, he possesses game-changing, scary knockout power. That's never going away. He can put any welterweight away with one flick of the hips, and that's an X-factor that can alter a fight in a flash. 

We knew that, though. 

What's more impressive after Lombard's recent victory over Shields is the resurgent welterweight's grappling prowess. 

Nobody rag-dolls Jake Shields. 

Shields had lost twice in the UFC before facing Lombard, but these slip-ups were never because he could not stay upright, and they were not for a lack of grappling skills. 

Georges St-Pierre—long known as the division's (and possibly MMA's) best wrestleronly landed two takedowns against Shields. 

More recently, Demian Maia—one of the UFC's best grapplers in any divisiongave up dominant positions on the ground to Shields time and time again. Shields passed Maia's guard five times during their UFC Fight Night 29 encounter. 

People don't just do that to Mr. Maia. 

This is why Lombard's five takedowns and 100 percent takedown success rate were so impressive. 

He did not simply win the grappling battle against Shields; he dominated it. 

If Lombard is out-grappling guys like Jake Shields, he's a terrifying force in the division who commands respect from the bout's onset. 

His power is well-documented, and it is horrifying. 

His grappling is still evolving, and he is literally throwing elite grapplers like Jake Shields around the Octagon. 

Yes, he can compete with the welterweight division's elite, and, yes, he can become the champion in the near future. The skill set is there, and he's finding his groove of late. 

UFC welterweight contenders, put your phones on silent and place them in your back pocket. 

UFC matchmaker Joe Silva might come calling, and he just might want you to fight Hector Lombard. 

You don't want that, do you?

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