With Eddie Alvarez possibly fighting for the final time in Bellator next month before likely signing with the UFC it looks like another champion could be following suit in the near future, albeit one still possessing a title instead of wearing the “former” label.
Hector Lombard, widely considered one of the best middleweights in the world based on his overwhelming amount of success against respected adversaries, is apparently a restricted free agent with only a few weeks remaining in an exclusive negotiation period with Bellator. CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the news while serving as a guest on MMAJunkie Radio where he made his company’s stance clear.
“We’re trying to work dynamics with him (and) see if we can put a deal together,” said Rebney of Lombard. “If we can’t put a deal together, he’ll be able to go out to the open market and talk to the UFC, and if he gets an offer, we have the right to match it.”
“So it’s going to come down to a business decision for him,” Rebney continued. “He’s a tremendous, tremendously talented athlete. He’s at his peak; he’s at his prime. As a fan with my CEO hat off, I think Hector Lombard is the best middleweight in MMA. So we would obviously like to have him continue to fight here, and if we’re not able to come to an agreement, he’ll go and get other offers and then we’ll make a decision whether we’re going to match those offers or let him go.”
Were there any question surrounding the UFC’s interest in bring Lombard on board to spice up the division it was answered in recent weeks when UFC President Dana White was in Australia for UFC on FX 2 and responded to a question about Lombard based on his popularity in the region.
“I hear he’s under contract though with someone else, so we’ll see,” White replied. “I’ll probably end up with him. If he wants to fight in the UFC, then we’ll probably end up with him.”
Lombard holds an overall record of 31-2 who is 24-0-1 in his last 25 fights. Among his numerous impressive victories, 24 of which have involved some form of stoppage, the American Top Teamer has beaten Alexander Shlemenko, Joe Doersken, Niko Vitale, Trevor Prangley, and Brian Ebersole.
PHOTO CREDIT – BELLATOR