MMA has certainly seen beefs arise between former training partners, but having teammates spar verbally in the media isn’t so common.
If you’ve been following Hector Lombard, as any big fan should, then you know that the American Top Team welterweight has made it abundantly clear that he’s willing to fight the camp’s Tyron Woodley. In fact, after the latter said he wouldn’t fight a teammate unless it was for the belt, Lombard accused Woodley of being “scared” to scrap him.
Talk of a possible bout between the two kicked off in August, when UFC boss man Dana White disclosed publicly (in a manner that wasn’t exactly ‘complimentary’) that Woodley had turned down a November 8th fight with Lombard.
Well, Woodley has since been booked to fight Kelvin Gastelum on January 31st, and while appearing on “The MMA Hour” recently, here is some of what the welterweight had to say about Lombard and his accusations (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“The reasons why I didn’t fight, I stayed true to those things. Me and somebody at American Top Team, whether this person is my best friend or whether this person is a complete idiot, I’m not going to fight that person unless it’s for a world title because we can fight somebody else in the division. The division is stacked.”
“I don’t think that freakin’ Kelvin Gastelum is anything less dangerous than Hector Lombard,” Woodley said. “I don’t think Carlos Condit was anything less dangerous than Hector Lombard, and I don’t think Rory MacDonald is any less skilled than Hector Lombard. So for someone to say that I’m scared, I’m ducking (him): I’ve never ducked a fight.”
It’s pretty, pretty hard to deny that Woodley hasn’t thrown down with some notable opponents since he arrived in the UFC. Not only has he faced top contenders like Condit and MacDonald, but he defeated the established vet Josh Koscheck, and also KO’d the #10 ranked, Dong Hyun Kim.
Of course, Lombard has also relayed that he doesn’t really consider Woodley a teammate, since he doesn’t live in Florida, and therefore, isn’t at the gym year round. So, the Judoka’s supporters may not buy into Woodley’s comments here, but that doesn’t change the fact he’s one of the promotions top 170’ers.
While Woodley will face Gastelum at UFC 183, Lombard has been tapped to fight Josh Burkman at UFC 182 on January 3rd.
Lombard-Woodley would be a pretty sweet fight to catch though huh?