NEW YORK -- The stakes for Hector Lombard's debut have just gone up significantly.
The Cuban-born fighter was recently signed to the UFC and announced as Brian Stann's opponent for the UFC on FOX 4 show in August. His debut comes against a top 10 middleweight for a very specific reason. If he wins, he'll likely vault to the front of the line and become the middleweight division's top contender, UFC president Dana White said.
"Yeah, it would make sense," White said on Thursday from the Beacon Theatre after a UFC on FOX 3 press conference. "The guy has won, I think it’s 25 fights in a row or something like that. If he comes right into the UFC, main events and knocks out Stann, it makes sense."
Stann could move into such a position so quickly particularly if current champ Anderson Silva beats Chael Sonnen for a second time when the true square off at UFC 148 in July. Silva has already beaten several top middleweights, including Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami, so Lombard would offer a fresh challenger.
Lombard is 31-2-1 with 1 no contest in his career, and hasn't tasted defeat since a November 2006 split decision loss to Gegard Mousasi. In fact both of his career losses have come in close split decisions (the other is to Akihiro Gono).
Though some have been critical of his list of opponents, there's no arguing with the results, as Lombard has finished 24 of his 31 wins. His last fight came in November, when he knocked out veteran Trevor Prangley in the second round of their Bellator 58 fight.
Lombard was the reigning champion of Bellator's middleweight division when his contract expired.
The UFC had previously tried to sign Lombard to their roster, but that deal in the fall of 2007 came undone due to visa issues.
Ironically, if Lombard catapults to a title shot in only his second fight, he will pull off the same trick done by Silva in 2006 when he beat Chris Leben to advance to a championship bout with Rich Franklin.
While Lombard comes in on an impressive run, Silva boasts the longest winning streak in UFC history, having won 14 straight.