Reigning Bellator Fighting Championships middleweight titleholder Hector Lombard announced Tuesday afternoon that he has officially signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Lombard revealed the news on Twitter and Sherdog.com confirmed the information with a source close to the situation shortly thereafter.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told Sherdog last week that he and his team had received a copy of the UFC’s offer to Lombard and would decide soon whether to match the terms of that contract. Lombard’s deal with Bellator expired earlier this year, and the fighter was in the midst of a period wherein he could elicit offers from other promotions. However, as Lombard was not an unrestricted free agent, Bellator still held the right to match any offer and retain the services of the muscular middleweight.
It is unknown when Lombard will make his UFC debut, though the fighter has been out of the cage since Nov. 19, when he smashed Trevor Prangley in a non-title affair at Bellator 58. A native of Cuba, Lombard has not been defeated since 2006, his two career losses coming to Gegard Mousasi and Akihiro Gono in the Pride ring.
Since his loss to Mousasi, Lombard has rattled off 24 wins in 25 outings, with a 2007 draw to Kyle Noke marking the middleweight’s only blemish in that span. The 34-year-old joined Bellator in 2009, winning the promotion’s inaugural middleweight championship and successfully defending it the following year against Season 2 tournament winner Alexander Shlemenko. The American Top Team export ends his Bellator career with a perfect promotional record, having posted eight wins during his three years with the organization.