Lombard, ranked sixth among 170-pound contenders, had offered to step in for the injured Tarec (Sponge) Saffiedine against No. 5 Matt (The Immortal) Brown on Feb. 14. But after dominating veteran Josh (The People's Warrior) Burkman en route to a three-round decision at UFC 182 on Saturday night, the 2000 Olympic judoka set his sights elsewhere.
"I think Rory MacDonald makes more sense for me," Lombard said at the post-fight news conference. "It's up to Dana (UFC president Dana White) but I think Rory's not going to fight (immediately) for the title. So I think that makes sense. But let's see what he (White) desires."
Asked for his thoughts, White said: "I think he's right.
"I think (he could fight) any of those guys. He's the No. 6 guy in the world, he could fight any of those guys. He could fight Tyron Woodley, he could fight Brown, he could fight Rory, any of those guys. We'll see what happens."
The 25-year-old MacDonald (18-2) is ranked second among welterweight contenders, one spot ahead of Woodley.
A native of Kelowna, B.C., who fights out of Montreal, MacDonald had been promised a crack at the winner of the UFC 181 welterweight title fight. But the UFC elected instead to stage a third fight between (Ruthless) Robbie Lawler and Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks after Lawler won the title in December.
An April 25 card in Montreal would seem to be the venue for MacDonald's next fight, which would fit into Lombard's timetable.
The 36-year-old Lombard, a five-foot-11 slab of muscle, competed for Cuba in judo at the 2000 Olympics. Lombard (35-4-1 with one no contest) has now beaten Jake Shields and Burkman since dropping down to 170 pounds.
The former Bellator middleweight champion, who trains out of American Top Team in Florida, has black belts in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. MacDonald also has his BJJ black belt.
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