Taking into account Mark Hominick’s work ethic, determination and all the victories he has piled up, the UFC featherweight contender admits that the opportunity standing before him is like nothing he has seen before.
“This is something I’ve definitely never experienced in my life,” Hominick admitted during a UFC 129 conference call. “My life flipped upside down. I’m going into my 10th year fighting professionally, and it feels like I’m an overnight success. There’s so much anticipation for the show and so much support from the media. This whole event has been a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s been crazy, and I’m really trying to enjoy the ride.”
The ride not only has taken Hominick to a title shot, but also granted him special-guest status at a Toronto Blue Jays game. “The Machine” threw out the first pitch at the Jays’ game against the Tampa Bay Rays at The Rogers Centre, where he will try to take Jose Aldo’s title on Saturday.
“(UFC 129) is such a huge event for Canada and for Ontario,” Hominick stated. “The Rogers Centre is such an iconic piece and to throw a pitch out there is a memorable one.”
Hominick, an Ontario native, is mindful of the pressure of facing the likes of Aldo and the pleasure of partaking in such an event. He also has a pregnant wife to make life more stressful – and joyous.
“Its overwhelming, but I have a busy schedule,” Hominick explained. “I delegate myself to following a straight guideline. I live in a small town and my mom lives around the corner, grandma lives around the other corner, my sister lives around the other corner, so I’ve got a strong support system. Everyone’s there and everyone’s rooting for me for the fight. They’ve really stepped up. The people at the gym and everyone in my life know the opportunity that’s in front of me. It’s been a huge support system to have behind me.”
In addition to everything else, a strong support system is needed when challenging a fighter like Aldo. The Brazilian is considered by many to be one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and his destruction of opponents is second to none, within his weight division. However, if there is someone with the skill set to beat Aldo, it might be Hominick.
Hominick’s crisp, pin-point striking, along with his tremendous footwork and impeccable head movement he learned training under the tutelage of coach Shawn Tompkins since the beginning of his career, is something Aldo has never experienced. The UFC champ should not be able to pick apart Hominick the way he has previous opponents. While “The Machine” recognizes the threat Aldo is as a fighter and he commends the Blackhouse standout for all his accomplishments, Hominick nevertheless feels confident he can win the fight.
“Jose is one of these fighters (that’s) not dangerous in one area, he’s dangerous in every area.” Hominick explained. “It’s not like you bring in a certain sparring partner, you bring in the best in every aspect. The stand-up, the clinch, the ground … I have to make sure I‘m sparring with the best capable guys in every aspect, not just a one-dimensional fighter.
“Everyone goes in there so intimated by what he’s doing and I think I’m going to be the one guy that takes a step forward instead of backward against him. He’s well-deserving of being pound-for-pound king and one of the best in the weight class. But, I’m going to go out there (to) fight my fight, and that’s the biggest thing.”
Hominick paid his dues and climbed the ladder to success, now he finds himself participating in the largest UFC event in the history of the promotion, not to mention the biggest MMA event ever in North America. The former TKO featherweight champ is excited for the chance to fight in Toronto, just as much as he is for the memories it will leave with him.
“I’m just trying to take it all in,” said Hominick. “This is an experience I’ll look back on and say, ‘Wow, this was a crazy time.’ Especially with my wife being due within a week of the fight. There’s going to be no other time in my life that’s going to be this busy, this hectic and this much build-up.
“”I’m just ready to go for April 30 and take in all that momentum and carry it into the cage.”
Aldo may be the favorite on the gambling front, but inside the Rogers Centre on Saturday, there will be thousands of Canadian fans screaming for their countryman to win. Hominick has reached a milestone in his career and is enjoying the ride, but with a victory at UFC 129, the ride may just have begun.