"With Jose Aldo, I think everyone is so intimidated and so concerned
about what he’s gonna do, and I’m just going in there and I know I can
beat him. I know I have the tools to beat him and that’s the mentality
I’m bringing in.”
Anyone who has met Mark “The Machine” Hominick will tell you that he’s a true gentleman, one of the politest people in the sport of mixed martial arts. But then there was January 22, 2011, the night the quiet 28-year old from Thamesford became a “Mean Machine.”
“I wanted to make a statement with the fight,” said Hominick of his 88 second stoppage of George Roop on the UFC Fight for The Troops 2 card in Killeen, Texas. “There was talk that I was going to get the title shot, so I knew I was close, but I just wanted to go in there and make a statement, silence any of the critics, and just prove why I was the number one contender, and I went in there and that’s what I did.”
It sounds a lot less intimidating than what the reality was. On this night, Hominick tore out of his corner at the opening bell and the look on his face said it all. He was going to do everything he could to knock Roop out as cleanly and quickly as possible, and he was going to end the fight, leave the Octagon with no bumps or bruises, and leave himself in perfect condition to challenge UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo on April 30 in Toronto.
Mission accomplished, and in two and half months, he will challenge for his first world title. Better yet, he will do it in his home province in front of 40,000 of his closest friends at the Rogers Centre.
“It’s an iconic place, especially for Toronto and people in Ontario,” said Hominick of the home field of the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Argonauts. “Like back when it was the Skydome and the Jays won back-to-back World Series and the Joe Carter homerun. But I never thought the UFC would be coming there. This is beyond dreams.”
It’s a great story on a lot of levels, and being just an hour and a half away by car, Hominick will likely be the focal point of many in the media leading up to the fight. He’s already become a favorite of friends who date all the way back to his kindergarten days in terms of ticket requests, but he’s not about to get distracted, even with his wife expecting their first child five days after UFC 129.
“I focus on the task at hand, and I’ve always been good at that,” he said. “This is the first thing when I wake up and the last thing I’m thinking about when I go to bed, and finally, everything’s come together.”
A pro since 2002, Hominick paid his dues on the Canadian circuit, winning the country’s super lightweight title as well as the featherweight belt from the TKO organization that propelled his career to the next level. But it’s been a five fight winning streak that began in 2008 that has really proved Hominick to be ready for prime time in the 145-pound weight class.
“You can see in my last five fights, I got five in a row, and I think every fight, I’ve gained in confidence and believing I’m the best in the division,” said Hominick, 20-8, a victor over Roop, Leonard Garcia, Yves Jabouin, Bryan Caraway, and Savant Young during his unbeaten string. “And with Jose Aldo, I think everyone is so intimidated and so concerned about what he’s gonna do, and I’m just going in there and I know I can beat him. I know I have the tools to beat him and that’s the mentality I’m bringing in.”
Brazil’s Aldo, who will be defending the UFC belt he was awarded last November for the first time, has yet to be tested in his time under the Zuffa umbrella. His 8-0 record in the WEC is filled with jaw-dropping knockouts and dominant performances against the cream of the featherweight crop. Hominick certainly respects the champion, but he doesn’t fear him.
“First off, I think he’s one of the best pound for pound fighters, there’s no denying that,” said Hominick of Aldo. “But I match up very well with him, and there’s nobody that’s brought the skill set that I have. No one’s been in his face, no one’s had the technical standup skills that is gonna back him up. He dictates the fight, and everyone moves backwards because they’re intimidated by his standup and what he’s done to everybody else. I plan on putting the pressure on him, and nobody’s done that.”
Hominick’s confidence comes not with bluster or arrogance; it comes from a place where you let your fists and feet do the talking. So he’s ready for April 30 and ready to enjoy every day leading up to the defining fight of his career.
“I’m just trying to take it all in, and not get swallowed by the hype,” he said. “I’m pumped to be a part of this, and I always enjoy the moments leading up to the fight, but this one’s gonna be extra special. And I’m a fan of the sport too, so it’s pretty cool to be up there with Georges St-Pierre and headlining an event in Toronto. This is ten years fighting as a pro all coming to one moment, and I’m gonna give it everything I got.”