If you ask Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight Hector Lombard an honest question, chances are he'll give you an honest answer.
Case in point: "Lightning" didn't hold anything back when asked recently about Jake Shields, who the Cuban-born Australian faces at UFC 171, which takes place Sat., March 15, 2014, at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
His assessment from this past Wednesday's media scrum:
"Like I always say, I believe he's a great fighter. His record speaks for itself. He beat a who's who in the sport. But, he's boring. This is a sport where you have to entertain fans. They want to ... see you fight. At the end of the day, it's the entertainment business. It's not the winning business. Go up there and show your skills and knock people out. [Shields] doesn't have that."
Although Lombard has had mixed results so far during his UFC tenure, he is coming off an ultra-impressive knockout of former top contender Nate Marquardt in his 170-pound debut at UFC 166. If "Lightning" is correct in his assumption that mixed martial arts (MMA) aficionados are entertained by fighters who deliver exciting knockouts, then his most recent performance must have, in the immortal words of Greg Jackson, gotten him some fans.
But, is Lombard worried Shields' grappling-centered style will make it hard to deliver another highlight reel worthy knockout?
To hear him tell it, he's ready for whatever Shields brings to the table:
"I don't know if you've seen my career, but [my opponents] always try to make the fight boring. They run away. I believe for [Shields] to beat me, this time he has to come [at me], and that's my opportunity. That's where I'm gonna hit him. He has no chance with me standing. [Will he] run away? Maybe. But, I think that what he wants to do is just take me to the ground. In order to do that [he has] to get close."
Lombard has a good point. For Shields' style to be effective he needs to pressure his opponent, which could provide ample counter striking opportunities for Lombard. In fact, Shields even admitted that he must stand with Lombard, obviously, at times, but has no desire to go toe-to-toe for 15 minutes.
Regardless of how it plays out inside the Octagon this weekend, let's just hope nobody channels their inner Kaleb Starnes or Houston Alexander on Saturday night.