Hector Lombard made a successful drop down to welterweight, defeating Nate Marquardt via first round knockout at UFC 166 in October. Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 171: Hector Lombard Needs to Prove Contender Status

Hector Lombard Needs to Prove Contender Status

Hector Lombard is a physical specimen. His ultra muscular frame can be an intimidating factor when it comes to the fight game. However, if there is one thing we have learned about the sport since its inception, is that the look of a fighter is impressive at the weigh in, but has very little impact when it comes to the actual fight. Hector Lombard needs to continue to prove to the MMA world that he’s more than just a genetic gym rat – he’s a legitimate contender at 170 lbs.

This Saturday Lombard battles Jake Shields in a welterweight show down that will help decide who stays a contender and who falls down the very deep division ladder. Lombard came into the UFC with a tremendous amount of hype. Prior to his UFC debut Lombard was on an incredible winning streak and hadn’t lost a fight since 2006. One can debate his level of competition at that time, but the fact remains he was at at time, one of the best fighters in the world not fighting in the UFC. The other aspect of Lombard’s career was the way he was finishing fights. He gained a reputation as an explosive fighter who had some of the best knock out power in the world.

As is usually the case, the hype never lives up to the reality. Chalk it up to first time octagon jitters, or a higher level of competition, but his loss to Tim Boetsch, at middleweight was extremely underwhelming. After a win and loss at middleweight, the drop to welterweight was a smart decision. A devastating knock out victory over Nate Marquardt proved that the weight cut was worth it.

Now, it is up for Lombard to firmly establish himself as a welterweight contender – while still continuing to fight with the ferocious pace that he’s been known for. His opponent on Saturday, Jake Shields, is the exact opposite of him, a smothering ground fighter, who like, Lombard, needs a win to clearly vault himself up the rankings.

When Georges St. Pierre left the fight game, the welterweight division became a wide open race to the top. With the likes of Johny Hendricks, Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald fighting for the top spot for the better course of 2014, other fighters need to stand out.

Hector Lombard has the potential to be that stand out fighter . . . with a win.

Tags: Hector Lombard Jake Shields UFC 171

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