Photo by Esther Lin for MMAFighting.com
UFC mouthpiece Dana White touched on the acquisition of hyped middleweight Hector Lombard and whether it might've been a mistake.
"Lightning" Lombard left Bellator Fighting Championships as their middleweight champion for the greener pastures of the UFC last year. At the time, he flaunted a beefy 31-2 record (with 1 draw and 1 No Contest), was surging on an unbeaten 25-fight streak and had cemented a reputation for highlight-reel stoppages (17 TKO's, 7 submissions). Though a signature 1st-round knockout was sandwiched in between, Lombard incurred a pair of decision losses to Tim Boetsch (in Lombard's debut) and perennial contender Yushin Okami (in Lombard's last outing at UFC on Fuel TV 8).
White voiced the following on his decision to sign Hector Lombard last year:
"No, you can't ever look at a guy as a mistake. I mean, if a guy gets to a certain level, you bring him in. It's like when people try to compare these other shows to the UFC. You might be great in all these other shows, but when you fight here, you never know how great or not great a guy is going to be."
This is an encouraging stance and one that I personally applaud. The cold hard facts show that Lombard is of an exceptional caliber, having fought very evenly with then-unanimous top-10er Tim Boetsch despite the split-decision loss. Additionally, he blasted out one of the most dangerously aggressive submission artists in "Toquinho" and was only soundly defeated by Okami, who has long sat close behind unparalleled champ Anderson Silva in the world middleweight rankings. Only those convinced that Lombard was one of the five best middleweights in the galaxy -- and willing to settle for nothing less -- should consider his UFC career a failure or a disappointment at this stage.
Courtesy of MMAFighting.com, the video of the UFC 158 post-event scrum is embedded below.