For every great fighter they all need that breakthrough moment, when they make the millions watching in attendance or from their living rooms stand up and take notice. For Anderson Silva it was his obliteration of Rich Franklin, for George St-Pierre it was his first win over Matt Hughes and so on.
For Mark Hominick it was a different story though, his story doesn’t end with him having his hand raised and UFC President Dana White wrapping a ten-pound championship around his waist validating his life’s work. His breakthrough moment was a loss to top-ranked featherweight Jose Aldo.
Hominick had just moved over to the Ultimate Fighting Championship after fighting for nine years between Canada and North America but a three-win stint in the Zuffa, LLC sister-organization World Extreme Cagefighting had him at the top of the contenders list when he made his octagon debut.
Knowing what was on the line he wasted no time punching his ticket to challenge Aldo for the top crown at 145-pounds finishing George Roop in just 88 seconds.
The stage was set, second from the top of the card at UFC 129 in Toronto, Canada as 55,000 on his countrymen cheered him on in support – Aldo showed his dominance early blistering the legs of the challenger with his thunderous kicks and connecting with his uppercut but stamina became a factor as the war raged on.
Hominick showed the heart of a warrior, as the final five minutes of action began the Shawn Tompkins trained fighter looked like the elephant man as a giant hematoma swelled on his forehead. But when the doctor asked him if he wanted to continue, he didn’t hesitate for a moment.
The closing moments of the fight should have been out of a high-budget Hollywood movie as the heroic underdog hammer fisted as the champion covered up just as the buzzer went off signaling the end of their 25-minute affair.
Hominick might not have left with the ultimate validation for his spoils of war with the UFC title but he earned the respect of a worldwide audience.
The journey didn’t get any easier for the 28-year-old combatant, while preparing for his next trip to the octagon he lost his coach and friend Shawn Tompkins, almost three months later when it was time to go to work for the first time without Shawn by his side it played a major factor.
Hominick was once again on home territory in Toronto but his over-eagerness to get in the cage and perform cost him against Chan Sung Jung, more prominently referred to as “The Korean Zombie” losing in just 7 seconds.
“I fought out of character, I never fight that aggressively and reckless and I paid the price, it’s weird that after ten years you still need to have a learning experience but that’s what it was [laughs] it wasn’t a beginner mistake, it was ten years into my career”
Now on April 21 it’s time for him to get back on the horse as he finds himself in unfamiliar territory, dealing with two consecutive defeats, something he hasn’t dealt with in over five years.
“The main thing is, it’s tough coming off a loss but it also makes you hungry, it’s gotta make you come back to the gym and work hard here and stay hungry so that’s what’s always motivated me.”
He steps into the cage against Eddie Yagin, a tough battle because the Hawaiian product is a veteran of 21 fights and a 145-pound champion of two organizations but he doesn’t have the name value that his previous opponents in the octagon have had.
In fact, Yagin was one of the biggest stars of the SuperBrawl organization in the early part of this century where most considered him to be the second coming of BJ Penn but he hasn’t lived up to that hype.
“The thing with Eddie Yagin is he’s a veteran, he’s been around longer than I have in this sport – I remember fighting back in 2002 or 2003 in Hawaii and he was one of the headline fighters, he’s seen it all and he’s got a dangerous right hand and a really good guillotine as well.”
Hominick has been doing this for a long time and touched gloves with some of the best this industry has ever seen but he is not ready to call his career quits until he holds a UFC championship at 145-pounds.
“Not now anyway, I’m so motivated, every fight I want to climb back up and I’m hungry for a championship, that’s what I’m motivated by every day so it’s not on my radar right now, only winning and climbing that ladder.”
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