After an up and down year, Hominick returns for redemption at UFC 154


On April 30, 2011 Mark Hominick was primed to do the unthinkable. Nearly 56,000 people entered Toronto’s Rogers Centre for UFC 129 in hopes of seeing the Ontario native pull off an upset few pundits thought possible. He was a heavy underdog to UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo and if Aldo’s previous bouts were any indication, Hominick would need to be on his game to survive.

Just over an hour away from where he grew up, Hominick nearly did the unthinkable. The fight’s final round saw Hominick take dominant position and damage Aldo far more than anyone before or after him has been able to do. Although he did not walk out the victor, falling short in a unanimous decision, he did walk out a hero.

“We (Hominick and Aldo) went through a war. You have to understand that everyone thinks I had the right game plan in the fifth to take him down, but that was in the fifth round after we had battled for four rounds. I hit him in the body, I hit him all over. It was wear and tear in an all out war. We had to dig through the trenches to get to that point. That’s the way you have to get in there with Jose. You have to make the sacrifices to get in a war with him.”

“That was a career-changer for me. I was like a 15 years to overnight success. I trained and fought for over 15 years and in that one moment and that one fight put me on the map as far as mainstream fans and mainstream media. It definitely opened a lot of doors and was a huge opportunity and something I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life.”

Unfortunately for Hominick, his professional career has gone downhill since that momentous night. A return to Toronto for UFC 140 saw him knocked out in 7 seconds by Chan Sung Jung, and most recently he lost a unanimous (but close) decision to Eddie Yagin at UFC 145.

“I thought I did enough to earn the decision (against Yagin) but I got dropped by two power shots, which earned Eddie (Yagin) the fight. I thought I was a bit one dimensional and just used my boxing. When I watched the tape I realized I need to go back to my roots a bit and bring back my kicks and ground game and just put it all together.”

Three straight losses can often mean the end of a UFC run, with Joe Silva delivering the dubious call. But Hominick has been given another chance. Perhaps because two of his losses were to top 5 ranked featherweights, or perhaps because they were all exciting, entertaining bouts. Whatever the reason, Hominick feels motivated and blessed for the opportunity.

“I’ve always stayed motivated and focus on the good. I’m blessed to fight on the main card of one of the biggest cards of the year with Georges St. Pierre coming back and I get the opportunity to show I belong among the best in the division.”

Despite Hominick’s professional setbacks and the loss of long-time trainer Shawn Tompkins, 2011 was not all bad for him. In May of 2011, Hominick and his wife had a daughter, an experience he claims was life changing.

“It’s completely changed my life. You just realize that there are a lot of things more important than what you may have believed before. Each day gets better. The older she gets, the closer our bond gets, and she makes everyday better.”

“I don’t think it’s a motivating factor. I never go into a fight thinking I have to win for a certain reason. I’m going in there to win because I want to win. The other aspects of life have to be a little more strict and structured, but it’s all for the better. Having a daughter is the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”

And now, after the wild ride 2011 and 2012, Hominick returns to the cage and what he does best. At UFC 154, Hominick will face the 6ft 1in giant of a featherweight in Pablo Garza. And despite the fight taking place is a province other than his own, Hominick considers the fight a homecoming of sorts with his MMA roots in Quebec.

“It’s really a homecoming party. That’s where I started my career. Georges St. Pierre, myself, Sam Stout, and Patrick Cote all started under the UCC and TKO banner. It’s nice to go home to where it all began. It’s almost like a fresh start. I’m coming off a few losses and I need to bounce back and what a great place to do it, back where I started my career.”

Garza presents challenges to Hominick unlike any opponent he has previously fought. Hominick has experience against taller featherweights such as George Roop and Hatsu Hioki, but Garza is an entirely different fighter. He uses his reach to his advantage and has the tools to be a major star in the division.

“I think the biggest factor in this fight is his height and his reach. I think in both of his finishes, that played a big role. He had a big jump knee and a flying triangle. Those long limbs are dangerous both on the feet and on the ground. The way you train for those kind of issues is you train for them and prepare for them and that’s what I’ve done. He’s the tallest guy in the featherweight division, but I’ve brought in guys over 6 foot (tall). I worked with them on the feet and on the ground so I’m used to that distance and those long limbs.”

It won’t be easy, but if anyone can put together a plan to defeat “The Scarecrow”, it’s Hominick. He’s seen it all and will come prepared on Saturday night at UFC 154.

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