Judo Olympian brings 31-2-1 record to UFC
Lombard, Bellator Fighting Championships’ middleweight titleholder, announced the news through his Twitter account Tuesday night, and Lombard’s profile page was already removed from Bellator‘s official website. No first opponent or approximate timetable for Lombard’s UFC debut were announced, and the UFC is yet to make the signing official.
Lombard’s contract with Bellator had run out and he was in a four-month negotiating period with the promotion, after which time he could seek out other offers and give Bellator the right to match a new deal. On Saturday, following the UFC 145 post-fight press conference in Atlanta, UFC president Dana White told a small group of gathered media that he was a Lombard fan: “I like him a lot,” White said. “We’ll see (if we can sign him.)” But White’s trademark smile may have given him away and may as well have said, “He’ll be with the UFC soon.”
Lombard (31-2-1, 1 NC, 8-0 Bellator) has amassed an impressive 25-fight unbeaten streak, going 24-0-1 since his last loss – a unanimous decision setback to Gegard Mousasi in a 2006 Pride fight. In fact, Lombard’s only two losses came in 2006, both in Pride, to Mousasi and Akihiro Gono, both by decision.
The 34-year-old Cuban-born fighter was a member of the 2000 Cuban Olympic team in judo, a sport in which he currently is a fourth-degree black belt. His primary training ground is with American Top Team in Florida.
Lombard has fought most of his career in Australia, where he emigrated to from Cuba. He holds notable wins over UFC fighters James Te Huna and Brian Ebersole, and in his Bellator run he beat the likes of Jay Silva, Herbert “Whisper” Goodman, Alexander Shlemenko and, in November, Trevor Prangley.
Lombard was Bellator’s first middleweight champion, winning the promotion’s Season 1 tournament at 185 pounds with a fourth-round TKO of Jared Hess. He defended the title just once, more than a year later, with a five-round unanimous decision against Shlemenko. His other Bellator fights since winning the title, aside from the one title defense, have been catch-weight bouts or non-title fights.