With Michael Bisping Out, Tim Boetsch Says “I Won’t Have to Bring my Running Shoes to Catch Hector Lombard”
Middleweight Hoping Impressive Win Will Bring Title Shot
By Kelsey Mowatt
After Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch captured headlines in February with his third round, come from behind stoppage of former number one contender Yushin Okami at UFC 144, the surging middleweight let it be known that he was interested in fighting Michael Bisping. Although Boetsch was awarded the high profile fight, the match-up was eventually swept up in the injury wave that has crashed through the UFC this summer, and Bisping was forced to withdraw.
“I woke up and found 15 different texts asking me what I thought of the new fight,” Boetsch told Full Contact Fighter, while recalling the day that he found out he would no longer fight Bisping at the July 21st, UFC 149 card. “I didn’t even know about it yet….I got online and called Monte (Cox), who confirmed that Bisping was out and (Hector) Lombard is in.”
Now, Boetsch (15-4) will look to spoil the Octagon debut of Lombard (31-2), who has arrived in the promotion armed with an impressive and rarely seen 25 fight undefeated streak. Although the former Bellator champion may not be as familiar of a name to mainstream fans as Bisping, becoming the first man to defeat Lombard since 2006 would be a significant accomplishment in its own right.
“My opponent’s popularity doesn’t concern me at all,” Boetsch said about Lombard, who had been scheduled to fight Brian Stann before he went down with a shoulder injury. “I think an interesting fact is how highly regarded Hector is by the UFC. Dana White had said himself that Hector would get a title shot if he had gone in and defeated Stann handily. I hope he gives me the same shot when I take Hector out.”
Although both Lombard and Bisping are highly regarded middleweights, the former should present Boetsch different challenges than the former TUF winner would have.
“It certainly changes the dynamic of the fight,” the 31 year-old fighter noted. “I won’t have to bring my running shoes to catch Hector that’s for darn sure. He’s going to bring the fight to me. It changes a lot about the fight.”
“Hector is obviously a very powerful fighter,” Boetsch furthered about the former Olympic Judoka, who is coming off a second round stoppage of Trevor Prangley in November. “He’s got heavy hands and definitely likes to finish his opponents. In Bellator, he was certainly quite a bully in the weight class, was able to impose his will on everybody. He would basically walk people down and hit them hard…that lends well to my fighting style. I’m more than happy to meet him in the middle of the Octagon and see what shakes out.”
Prior to his win over Okami, Boetsch secured wins over Kendall Grove and Nick Ring by turning to his wrestling skills and working from the top position on the mat. While Boetsch is confident he can defeat Lombard on his feet, the AMC Pankration fighter does not believe that’s his only path to victory.
“I think the way he comes in he’s wide open for takedowns,” said Boetsch, while discussing whether he believes Lombard’s wrestling has been effectively tested recently. “If you get someone in there who’s confident in their mixed-martial-arts takedowns then I think it’s going to be pretty easy to take him down and ground-and-pound him.”
“I don’t think he has been tested,” Boetsch added. “Not like he’s going to be tested in the UFC and not like he’s going to be tested on July 21st when he gets in the cage with me.”
A win over Lombard would be Boetsch’s fourth consecutive since he dropped down from light-heavyweight last year, and would likely position the powerful middleweight in the title shot mix.
“I felt like that after beating Bisping I would have to win one more fight after that to earn the right to be called the number one contender, but I think if I take Hector out in an impressive fashion that’s going to jump me to the front of the line.”