“Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2) is a name that has been on the lips of MMA fans more and more recently and oddly enough it hasn’t been to talk about another one of “Shango’s” highlight reel knockouts, but rather the fact that the Bellator Middleweight Champion called out “The Great” Nate Marquardt (31-10) shortly after Nate’s release from the UFC. Lombard, who is considered by many fans to be one of the most dangerous strikers in the sport, seemed to jump at the fact that Marquardt had been released by the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion and was almost instantly looking to fight against the former UFC middleweight contender. Just days after Lombard called out the former top contender, Matt Homeyer of MMA Gospel talked to the current Bellator champ about what drew him into MMA, the upcoming Bellator Season 5 tournament, and, of course, Nate Marquardt.
Everyone seems to have their own personal story of how they got into MMA. What is it that drew you to the sport?
How do you prepare yourself mentally and physically in the moments before stepping into the cage?
I love to do it, it’s like some people love what they do for work and some people don’t. In my case I love what I do. My job is fighting.
Are there any pre-fight traditions or rituals that you have?
You have fought numerous times in Australia and hold the CFC middleweight championship belt. In your experience, how does MMA in The Land Down Under differ from MMA in the United States?
Having competed in MMA fights, Muay Thai fights, and Olympic-level Judo. which was the hardest to train for and why?
Do you feel that being known as a dangerous striker causes a lot of people to look past your Judo skills in the cage?
Fans don’t often see a lot of the big hip throws and leg sweeps in MMA competition that Judo is known for, even from top-level Judoka. Do you feel this is because many Judo attacks simply aren’t practical without a gi or is it just that many fans and commentators are missing something?
Speaking of style, you have gotten some heat for supposedly changing your style of fighting in your Bellator match-ups against Alexander Shlemenko and Falaniko Vitale. Did you change your game plan for these fights to test out a new method or out of respect for your opponents’ skills, or did you approach those fights the same as you have others?
Do you feel any added pressure to change what you have been doing in the cage because fans are always expecting you to get the first-round KO, even though such expectations may be unrealistic?
You are slated to defend your belt against the winner of the Bellator Season 5 Middleweight Tournament. Who do you feel would be the biggest challenge for you out of that field of competitors? (Bryan Baker, Vitor Vianna, Alexander Shlemenko, Jared Hess, Sam Alvey, Brian Rogers, and Zelg Galesic are all slated to compete, and the tournament is rumored to also feature Dan Cramer).
What is your take on Bellator’s tournament style? Do you think the promotion’s champions are given enough opportunities to fight?
You recently called out “The Great” Nate Marquardt following his release from the UFC. Do you see this fight materializing anytime in the near future and what prompted you to call him out?
Does Marquardt bring any particular tools to the table that you feel would deserve special attention in your training camp?
How do you think you would match up with Nate, and what are your predictions on how that fight would go?
Is there anyone else in the world that you’re really itching to fight?
Anyone in your weight class you would just simply not want to fight?
As the Bellator 185lbs. champion, where do you feel that puts you in comparison to the other middleweight fighters in the world?
Do you feel that a Bellator champ doesn’t get the respect and recognition they deserve in comparison to the champions of the larger organizations like Strikeforce and the UFC?
The UFC has expressed notable interest in adding you to their middleweight roster. Are you interested in signing with them?
Let’s say you were to sign with the UFC. The promotion requires exclusivity from their fighters, which means that you would not be able to defend your CFC championship. Would you be willing to vacate your title?
Theoretically speaking, if you signed with a Zuffa promotion, how do you think your fights against their 185lbs. champions, Anderson Silva and Ronaldo Souza, would go?
I’d beat both those guys, too.
One last question before we say goodbye, Hector: Who’s going to win, Fedor or Henderson?
I think that Hendo will beat him.