Long time middleweight standout Hector Lombard has fallen on hard times. Formerly an unstoppable champion in Bellator, he's gone an uninspired 1-2 in the UFC with decision losses to Tim Boetsch and Yushin Okami, sandwiching a quick TKO victory over Rousimar Palhares.
After his loss to Okami speculation was running wild that, due to his large salary and underwhelming performances, he may get released from the promotion altogether. However, Dana White quickly quashed those rumors in his UFC 158 post fight media scrum.
"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."
But just because he isn't getting released, doesn't mean that he doesn't need to make a change. Lombard is drastically undersized at middleweight. He packs a lot of muscle on his frame, but at only 5'8" and with a 71" reach, he fights from a severe disadvantage. At the highest levels of the sport even the slightest edge can mean the difference between winning and losing. Fans and media alike have suggested that he seriously consider changing his training style for a potential drop to welterweight, and it looks like that message has been received:
Looking forward to be workingwith Mike Dolce!— Hector Lombard (@HectorLombard) April 8, 2013
Whether this signifies an immediate drop in weight class or a more gradual transition remains to be seen. He didn't appear to suffer any serious injuries in his last fight so a quick turnaround is possible. As Wanderlei Silva showed, the UFC is willing to let fighters fight their way down or up to new weight classes with catchweight bouts. Either way it's a promising sign that he recognizes the limitations of his physique and the potential he could have in challenging fighters closer to his own size.