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Hector Lombard on move to 170: 'If it were to be up to me, I would stay at 185'

Matt Roberts

Hector Lombard will make the drop to 170 pounds when he meets Nate Marquardt at UFC 166 in Houston on Oct. 19.

But the former Bellator middleweight champion isn't afraid to admit the move wasn't his first choice.

On Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, the Cuban-born former Olympic judoka said he's making the move at the UFC's suggestion.

"The UFC wanted me to go to 170," Lombard (32-4-1, 1 NC) said. "They believe that I would perform better at 170 than 185. I have to do what the bosses say, you know? Can't argue with the bosses.

"If it were to be up for me, I would stay at 185," Lombard said. "I have to be disciplined ... I've been training hard and I think I'll be able to make it and I think I'll be able to perform better."

Lombard entered the UFC amid great fanfare last summer as the winner of 20 consecutive fights and on an unbeaten streak of 24-0-1. But he's since become an example of how thin the line between success and struggle in MMA can be. He's 1-2 in his three UFC fights, with a win over Rousimar Palhares sandwiched by losses to Yushin Okami and Tim Boetsch.

Both losses were split decisions, meaning he was one judges' card in each loss from being undefeated instead of 1-2. Lombard knows that all he can do is play the hand he's been dealt and do his best to take things in stride.

"I have confidence," Lombard said. "I believe I'm going to pick it up, I don't see myself losing from now on to anyone."

Lombard, who has fought as high as light heavyweight over the course of his career and doesn't exactly carry a lot of fat on his frame, insists that making 170 pounds is doable.

"I'm going to lose a bit [of muscle]," said Lombard. "But at the same time I'm going to be faster, not only am I going to be faster, my stamina is going to increase. I can feel it in my training right now."

The UFC 166 bout is one Marquardt wanted. It nearly happened in Bellator awhile back, but the proposed bout fell apart. The veteran Marquardt called Lombard out on Twitter, and Lombard was only happy to oblige.

"He was the one who picked me," said Lombard. "We were supposed to fight two years ago when he got cut from the UFC. And the fight didn't happen. But now were are both in the UFC, why not? Let's get that out of the way. I'm never going to walk away from any fighter, I'll fight anyone."

In the meantime, Lombard had an opinion on the most popular topic in mixed martial arts of the past week: The changing of the guard in his former division, where Chris Weidman knocked out Anderson Silva to claim the middleweight title.

"Everyone was expecting [Silva] to win that fight," Lombard said. "I think he lost the fight himself. He was too cocky and I don't know, he went crazy in the fight. I don't know what happened to him. It's going to be in the hard in the rematch because Chris has a lot of confidence, and [Silva] will have less confidence this time. Chris Weidman knows he can win, and Anderson knows he can lose the fight."

Lombard will watch the middleweight rematch like anyone else. But a part of him wishes middleweight is where he'll compete.

"They said I'm too small for 185 and I would be better at 170," Lombard said. "I try to convince, but Joe Silva was taking, ‘no, no, no, I don't want you at 185.' So I have to do what he says."

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