The Triangle Choke: Hector Lombard Interview
An interview with MMA fighter Hector Lombard
Hector Lombard, a former Cuban Olympian in Judo, has taken the MMA world by storm now holding a career record of 23-2. Lombard is famous for his MMA exploits in his adopted home of Australia. He has parlayed that success into the US as he now trains with the world renowned American Top Team. Lombard has made it to the Bellator Fighting Championships Middleweight Tournament Semifinals where he will face Damien Stelly.
SD- Speak a little about growing up in Cuba and your martial arts background.
HL- You know it was a test. All you have to do is train. In Cuba you have to be the best. It was OK because you can focus on training.
SD- I believe you have a black belt in Judo, is that correct?
HL- Yes, that is correct.
SD- You were on the Olympic team for Cuba. Talk about that experience.
HL- Being on the Olympic team and representing your country is good. The Olympics were in Australia which I now consider a second home.
SD- What brought you to the sport of mixed martial arts and when did you leave Cuba?
HL- When I moved to Australia in 2000 I started working out at a gym. A guy there told me I should fight. The transition was pretty easy with me given my background and I like to box. I became an Australian citizen and got married there.
SD- You are 23-3 as a pro and now in the semi-finals of the Bellator Fighting Championships against Damien Stelly (10-2).
HL- Damien Stelly is the next guy I fight then after that I’m in the finals. Right now I’m focusing on my next guy which is Damien Stelly. I fight him on May 29th.
SD- What type of challenges does he bring to the cage?
HL- I don’t know much about him. I know he is a good wrestler but I can go to the ground too. I know he was in the Army. You know, I will fight anybody.
SD- Bellator has started with a bang. What is it like competing for them and being televised on ESPN Deportes?
HL- Its exciting because the people in America want to see the Hector Lombard from Australia. I’m excited to be fighting for Bellator and to gain the exposure.
SD- What brought you to train with American Top Team upon your arrival to the US?
HL- My manager got me involved with American Top Team. It’s a good challenge for me.
Malki Kawa (Hector’s Manager)- It was important for us to get Hector in an area that had a significant Cuban population and culture. We also wanted to make sure he was training with people who were equally talented or even better. We wanted Hector to have the opportunity to get better. We felt American Top Team was the one camp that had enough guys that could really challenge him.
SD- As you move along how has your experience been with American Top Team and the US as a whole?
HL- I’m enjoying it here but I miss Australia a lot. Fighting here for Bellator has been great. All I want to do is fight and keep getting better.
SD- You are probably the favorite in the Middleweight Tournament. If you do win, do you see yourself staying with Bellator or fighting for other organizations?
HL- It is not an option for me. I have already won this tournament. I have a contact with Bellator. Once that contract is up me and my manager will take a look at things and see what is a good move for me. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind, I’m going to be the champion. If there are any doubters, I will erase that.
SD- We wish you best of luck as the tournament progresses.
HL- Let me tell you, don’t blink this one will be over quick!
For more on Bellator’s events please visit www.bellator.com.
By Scott Dryden
Hector Lombard photograph courtesy of the Bellator Fighting Championships