Now that’s the Hector Lombard fight fans were expecting to see when he made his UFC debut earlier this year.
Coming off of an abysmal performance against Tim Boetsch back at UFC 149 in July, Lombard was in desperate need of a big win over Rousimar Palhares in order to regain some of his lost momentum, and he earned quite a bit of it back with his dominant performance over “Taquinho.”
Lombard has been one of the most dominant middleweights in MMA over the past half decade, going 25-1-1 since a Pride FC loss to Gegard Mousasi back in 2006.
However, his inability to pull the trigger in his loss against Boetsch in his UFC debut caused many fans to question whether or not “Lightning” had the talent to compete with the best fighters in the world at 185 lbs.
He may have silenced those critics tonight with his destruction of Palhares, but even with the big win Lombard still has a long ways to go before he is considered a contender to Anderson Silva’s title again.
The UFC’s middleweight division is deeper than it has been in years, with Lombard looking to join top contenders like Michael Bisping, Vitor Belfort and Chris Weidman near the top of the heap if he can build off of the win he earned tonight.
While he’s still sitting a notch below the top guys at 185 at the moment, Lombard’s win over Palhares is a step in the right direction if he wants to get into the UFC title picture in the near future.
Based on natural ability alone, Lombard could eventually have a shot at adding a UFC title to his resume.
The former Bellator champion’s raw power and finishing ability have made him one of the most dangerous fighters in all of MMA, and fortunately for Lombard, the vast majority of the top fighters at 185 lbs prefer to stand and trade on the feet over a grappling match.
Lombard would have a legitimate chance to pull off the upset against a guy like Bisping or Belfort based on his punching power alone, and since Anderson Silva turns away challengers about as quickly as the UFC can throw them at him, all it takes is one or two big wins at 185 to become an instant contender.
It’s definitely not a sure thing, but if Hector Lombard can build off of the momentum he gained tonight and earn a big win or two over the next year, we could very easily see the former Bellator champion fight for a chance at UFC gold.