Hector Lombard was on the rise in the UFC's welterweight division before an injury forced him to the sidelines earlier this year.
The fighter, now known as “Showeather,” is prepping for a return to the Octagon. With much of the 170-pound division jockeying for position to climb the ladder, there are a number of interesting matchups that would keep Lombard on the short list of title contenders.
However, the Cuban native should not have to look far for his next opponent—the man he should face, Tyron Woodley, trains within the same team.
When the question of fighting teammates is usually posed to mixed martial artists, the answer is typically a “no.” However, there is potential for Woodley to face Lombard and other teammates within American Top Team.
The UFC currently has Woodley ranked in the No. 3 slot, while Lombard sits at No. 6. With two of his teammates in Lombard and Robbie Lawler sitting within the top six of the UFC standings, there is a great potential that they may have to face off at some point in the future.
Woodley has already addressed this situation in recent interviews. “If worse comes to worse, we'll do a whole training camp together if we have to fight each other,” Woodley told MMAjunkie Radio before his fight with Carlos Condit at UFC 171. “I think it's kind of funny that there's so much discussion talking about us fighting each other.”
While he may have been joking at the time, the idea that Lombard and Woodley could face each other is a situation that he and Hector should address. This past March, Hector answered the pending question with a resounding “no.”
“If he wins the belt, I don't want to fight him,” Lombard said to Steven Marrocco of USA Today when speaking of a potential fight against Lawler. “He can have the belt man, I don't really care.”
However, the UFC has flexed their muscle in the past to get teammates and friends to compete against each other in important fights. Rashad Evans versus Jon Jones at UFC 145 stands as the biggest example of when the promotion was able to get two partners to compete against each other.
The task hasn't come up yet from UFC executives in relation to Lombard and Woodley, but the timing would make sense to create that fight at some point this year.
When MMA Fighting announced in June that Lombard would be forced out of action for three months due to a cervical herniated disc, a return was not anticipated until September at the earliest. Woodley recently competed at UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Le, where he knocked out Dong Hyun Kim in 61 seconds.
UFC match-makers could book Woodley and Lombard in a contest in the fourth quarter of 2014, giving the division an additional contender option for early 2015.
The return of Hector Lombard will add an interesting wrinkle to the welterweight division. The former Bellator champion has looked good for the majority of his UFC run; especially since moving down to 170 pounds.
Another victory could have him next in line for a shot at the welterweight title. Unfortunately, to get there he may have to go through two of his teammates. A pairing against Woodley would make sense at this juncture in their careers, and the UFC should begin working on booking this bout for the man now named “Showeather.”