Okay, that's a somewhat misleading headline, but I was stumped on what to call this article. In actuality, Lombard could quite possibly make 170 and look half-decent.
What I'm addressing more directly are all the calls after last night for Lombard to drop down to welterweight. This is really just another testament to the strange belief on the part of both fans and, in some cases, fighters, that dropping down a weight-class is a fix all solution.
Hector Lombard did not lose last night due to being the physically smaller man. At no point did Tim Boetsch outmuscle him or make Lombard feel his weight. In fact, whenever the two tied up, it was Lombard that generally seemed the stronger of the two, even hefting Boetsch up like a sack of potatoes at one point. All of Boetsch's takedown attempts were also easily stuffed by Lombard. This was not a fight like King Mo vs. Lorenz Larkin.
Lombard did not lose due to fighting a former light heavyweight. He lost due to his new-found strategy of standing still as a statue, waiting for his opponent to rush in cluelessy either out of recklessness or lack of skill. I seem to remember first seeing this strategy when he fought Falaniko Vitale last year. The thing is, I'm pretty sure this "statue" MO is done by Hector as a means of pacing himself so that he doesn't gas out, as he often did when he found himself in the third round. Instead of upping or overhauling his conditioning training or learning NOT to throw 110% power into every single strike he throws, he instead decided that a better method of conserving energy would be to stand completely still.
Which really only hammers home another reason why the magical cut to 170 isn't a fix-all: if Hector is already concerned so much about gassing out at 185 that he's content to stand in place for extended periods of time, how the hell is his gas tank going to react to a weight cut? At age 34 and after an 8 year, 35 fight career? If anything, it seems like a recipe for just making matters worse.
I wish that Lombard just lost to Boetsch via being pushed around by a bigger dude. It'd be a lot simpler of an issue. He could bring in Mike Dolce or whomever, cut down, and the wild savage would return. But that's not what we're dealing with. Rather, we're looking at a fighter who has taken his striking, from a footwork perspective, down a terribly wrong path, a guy who seemingly has no sense of urgency and no awareness of when he might be down on the score-cards, a guy committed to waiting for the "one big shot," and a guy who's frozen in place due to a clear anxiety over gassing out. A lot of that is fight IQ or mental, so who knows how that can be fixed?
One thing is for sure though: cutting down a weight class isn't suddenly going to turn a statue into a wild, frenzied animal. Cutting down does not suddenly so dramatically change how a fighter fights.
Believe me though, I'm sympathetic. I think that a lot of the calls for the weight cut come out of Lombard's fans, or people who believed Joe Rogan and the UFC's hype around the guy, desperately searching for answers for how there could be such a giant disparity between what they expected, or were led to believe, and what they saw in the cage Saturday night. How could a guy with such an epic highlight reel fight so timidly and conservatively? The fact is that the gameplan and mentality that Lombard exhibited last night has actually been the path he's been gradually going down, particularly since winning the Bellator strap. He just hasn't been made to pay for it yet. Hopefully, this loss serves as a wake-up call.
update: Hector Lombard just posted this on twitter:
"I feel strong at 185 just because I had a bad fight does not mean that I am going to drop to 170."
Looks like Lombard, hopefully, gets it. He acknowledges that his fight sucked (something that he's been resistant to in the past, saying instead that he doesn't give a shit about boos and such), but says that cutting weight isn't the answer and size wasn't the problem. Hopefully that means that he knows the fight was bad due to the strategy he employed.