Photo of Hector Lombard via Bellator.com.
He's here (finally).
Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard was offered a contract by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) roughly one week ago and after some careful deliberation on whether or not to match it, Bellator has decided to let its champion go find out if the grass really is greener on the other side.
Considering the dearth of fresh contenders for the 185-pound title, there's never been a better time for Lombard to enter the fray. His career record of 31-2 gives him instant credibility -- assuming that record isn't padded, of course, which has been the knock against him for some time now.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney thinks that's silly and, in fact, predicts his former middleweight king will assume his place at the throne inside the Octagon real soon.
"We have a business model where we make decisions based on analyzing data. Since the first day we came into being, we made decisions based on real models, not hypotheticals. The UFC model is largely based on pay-per-view, and the offer they made to Hector is going to be monetized via pay-per-view. While pay-per-view could play a role in our future, today it doesn't. So, we did our due diligence to review the UFC contract, analyzed it in terms of charging our audience to see Hector vs. putting him on free TV, and we decided to allow the UFC to sign Hector, where I am extremely confident he will win the UFC middleweight title on pay-per-view."
Lombard's only two losses have come by unanimous decision to Gegard Mousasi and Akihiro Gono in fights that took place nearly six years ago. He has 24 finishes, including 17 (T)KO stoppages in 31 wins.
He's been called everything from professional can-crusher to top five middleweight in the world. Now we get to find out exactly what he's got to offer on the grandest stage of them all.
First, though, he needs an opponent. Time for you matchmaking Maniacs to find him one.
Hector Lombard's first fight in the UFC should be against ...