Hector Lombard may not have had the prettiest performance of his career against Josh Burkman at UFC 182, but he still came away with a win -- which at this point is enough for the man who very well may be the bogeyman of the welterweight division.
Fighting for the first time since March 2013, due in large part because of the UFC's inability to find a willing dance partner, Lombard dismantled a sick and exhausted Burkman, using a steady diet of forward pressure and heavy punches to earn a dominate but otherwise anticlimactic unanimous decision over the former WSOF title challenger.
"I'm a little bit disappointed," Lombard said afterward. "Because I was expecting that he was going to try and bang with me, but, you know, he didn't. So it's always hard to fight a guy who's running away, but I proved that I can stay three rounds at the same pace, and let's see what happens in the future."
The future could hold big things for Lombard (35-4-1, 1 NC), a menacing fire hydrant of a 170-pounder who currently stands at No. 6 on the UFC's media-generated welterweight rankings.
Lombard holds a perfect 3-0 record since dropping down from middleweight, including a first-round knockout of Nate Marquardt and a dominating decision over Jake Shields. In truth, staying active has been Lombard's biggest problem, as the 36-year-old has fought just twice over the past 15 months. And while there's been some talk about Lombard filling the vacant spot opposite Matt Brown at UFC Fight Night 60 on Feb. 14, he has other plans in mind following his latest win.
"I think Rory MacDonald makes more sense for me," Lombard said. "It's up to Dana, but I think that Rory, he's not going to fight for the title, so I think that (fight) makes sense."
MacDonald was initially promised a title shot against the winner of UFC 181's main event between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler, however Lawler's contentious victory gave way to a trilogy match between the two, and MacDonald is now left on the outside looking in.
Like Lombard, the young Canadian has won three straight fights and is considered to be one of the best welterweights in the world, and UFC President Dana White appeared open to Lombard's matchmaking.
"I think he's right," White said. "He's the number-six guy in the world, he could fight any of those guys. He could fight Tyron Woodley, he could fight (Matt) Brown, he could fight Rory. We'll see what happens."