Hector Lombard (34-10-1-2 MMA, 0-0 BKB) is one of the latest MMA veterans to sign with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships.
Originally contracted to fight another man with a storied fight career in Joe Riggs, an injury forced Riggs from the bout. Lombard now meets Dave “The Redneck” Mundell (10-5 MMA, 2-0 BKB) at BKFC 10 this weekend.
The opponent change doesn’t rattle Lombard, who has spent his whole life competing in one combat sport or another. After decades spent competing at the highest levels in judo, his MMA career spanned 14 years and he battled in PRIDE, Bellator, and UFC during that time. After parting ways with the UFC, Lombard met with BKFC President Dave Feldman and felt he was a “genuine” guy. He was also excited about the prospect hopping on board with a growing sport.
“It’s exciting and it’s new,” Lombard told the Scrap when speaking about bare-knuckle boxing.
“Well, you and I know it’s actually been around forever and I was just curious about them letting it happen again. And I just couldn’t wait to be a part of it.”
The Redneck & The Axe Murderer
Lombard feels that he matches up well with Mundell. The former Olympic grappler now focuses almost solely on his boxing, and expects his physical attributes and experience to play a major part in his victory this weekend.
He’s not looking past Mundell, but he would like to rebook the fight with Joe Riggs down the line. Lombard also stated that he felt disrespected by another battle-scarred combatant when the two crossed paths at a BKFC event and would like to see Wanderlei Silva across the ring one day.
“He [Silva] gave me a dirty look when I saw him and I was like, ‘what the f*ck is going on with this idiot?’ He squared up a bit, and I was like ‘what the f*ck is going on with you?’ So I hope we can make this happen. My focus is Mundell, but I’d like to get this out of the way and then focus on other fighters,” Lombard indulged.
Is bare-knuckle safer than other combat sports?
A fight between Lombard and Silva would be a treat for old-school fight fans who remember the reign of terror each had. High-profile signings are just what the burgeoning league needs to draw in long-time combat sports aficionados. Lombard mentions Thiago Alves and other big names making the move the BKB. He also feels that any stigma that still exists around the sport will eventually fade away.
Many of the struggles faced by the promotion harken back to those faced by MMA in its early days. There are only certain places the events can happen and the lack of gloves leads to concern of fighter safety. Lombard, though, feels that BKB is actually less-damaging than MMA and traditional boxing.
“It’s actually safer for your brain. You end up getting cut because you have no padding or protection [on your fists]. It’s safer than boxing because sometimes in boxing they hit you with 200 punches in a single fight. So yeah, when it comes to bare-knuckle you get cut, but you don’t get all that damage.”
Everything is a Risk
After a year and a half away from the cage, the 42-year-old is refocused. His UFC tenure ended on a losing streak that he attributes to “bad relationships” and “personal problems”. Now, he is again meditating on combat. Lombard believes that in a different life he would’ve been a gladiator competing in the Roman Colosseum. He sees contemporary combat sports as an extension of that and is even ready to perish a warrior’s death should that be the case.
“I don’t care to die doing something like that. Something I have a passion for,” declared Lombard. “Everything is a risk and if you don’t take risks, you don’t receive anything. When you have that mindset and that mentality, you’ll go far. At one point, when I was married and all that, I started becoming a normal guy and nobody cares about you when you’re just another guy.”
Lombard echoed his sentiments of surrounding yourself with toxic people when discussing fellow Cuban standout, Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal’s 2019 campaign made him a breakout star after “Gamebred” spent years alternating between wins and losses. Lombard always knew Masvidal was one of the best in the game, but others just didn’t see it in years past. According to Lombard, Masvidal also suffered from bad relationships and personal dramas in the past that kept him from his pinnacle.
“It happened to me in the past. I was in these bad relationships and it also happened to Jorge [Masvidal]. So I want to tell all these young fighters to be careful of the person you have around you because they’re the ones who can damage you the most.”