Hector Lombard is a wild character and a hugely decorated fighter. He is a former Olympic judoka, a Pride and UFC veteran, and he was also the inaugural Bellator middleweight champion.
Having dabbled in a multitude of martial arts, including kickboxing and Muay Thai, the Cuban-born brawler Lombard believes he’s found his favorite discipline in bare-knuckle boxing.
Lombard fought twice for Pride and faced Gegard Mousasi and Akihiro Gono. In his first 34 fights these were his only two losses but he still has fond memories of the Japanese promotion.
“It was different. Everything that is different, people like it. People like brutality. People like Cruelty. They are cruel. Soccer kicks, crazy s**t, crazy ways to walk out to the ring. People loved it,” Hector Lombard told BJPenn.com.
This weekend he will compete in a bare-knuckle bout for the third time. Lombard is set to face fellow UFC veteran Joe Riggs and says the format helps to keep him motivated,
“I like bare-knuckle, because at one point in MMA, I was going through a lot of drama with all my exes. I didn’t really take that sh*t seriously at the end. I was just like ‘let’s go in there and get paid’ but when I signed (to do) my first bare-knuckle fight after so many years fighting it was the first time that I was nervous. That was the first time that I really was nervous. I was like ‘f*ck man if these guys catch me with these fists I’m going to get cut and f*cked up,’ Lombard said.
He sees parallels between the recent burgeoning of bare-knuckle fighting and the early days of MMA. But Lombard acknowledges that the appeal is somewhat primitive,
“People like to be cruel. Nobody says that. They say something else. I could care less. I say sh*t the way it is. People are cruel out there, mate. Why do you think MMA surpassed boxing? Because it was more brutal. Elbows, cuts, smaller gloves, blood everywhere. The guys fighting for real. F*cking knees and chokes and guillotine and fucking ground and pound,” Lombard said.
Lombard could see bare knuckle enjoying the same sort of surge in popularity that MMA eventually did.
“That’s what made the sport blow up. And now it’s going to be the same way with bareknuckle. Because there’s no gloves. People are getting KO’d fast, and the s**t is brutal,” Lombard said.
Lombard has certainly taken to the sport. Since signing with BKFC in 2020, he’s racked up back-to-back victories including a first-round TKO against Kendall Grove on his debut.
He is excited about the possibility of facing Riggs this weekend, too.
“Everybody knows who Joe Riggs is. He’s been fighting forever. Fought in the UFC. Fought in Bellator. 4-1 in Bareknuckle. Fought everywhere. Strikeforce. Was he champion in multiple organizations too? I like that.”
MMA fighters have enjoyed plenty of success with the transition to bareknuckle boxing. The most notable of which, was probably Artem Lobov who overcame, Paulie Malinaggi; a multiple-time boxing world champion, via unanimous decision at BKFC 6.
Lombard believes the BKFC provides the perfect ruleset for MMA fighters to thrive, and, that they inherently possess more grit than their boxing counterparts.
“I feel like boxing it becomes more like an art,” said Lombard. “MMA fighters have more like a gruelling, fighting, wrestling mentality like fucking being a dog. Like don’t quit getting beat up and keep coming at it. I don’t think boxers have that anymore. There was a time when boxers had that, but they don’t have that anymore. There’s too much money, there’s too many rules, there’s too much bullshit. It’s like soccer. They go to the ground because you hit the guy with an eyelash. What the f*ck is that?”
Lombard says that he is a fan of lethwei, the traditional Burmese martial art the permits head butts. However, The American Top Team fighter, has appetites that go much farther.
“I like that sh*t (lethwei.) They should have all of it. My dream is at one point before I retire is fighting with machetes. I swear. I fought in Cuba with machetes so many times. Because in Cuba you fight with machetes. I was good though. I want to fight at least once with machetes,” he said.
Are you looking forward to watching Hector Lombard vs. Joe Riggs in BKFC this weekend?