“The Machine” ready to rise to the top
Last week, LeBron James told Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert via Twitter that “karma’s a bitch.” James found out for himself the following evening, spraining his ankle as his Miami Heat lost to the lowly Los Angeles Clippers. Often personified as a female, the Indian “cause and effect” religious concept can indeed deliver negative returns to those who act negatively, but she’s also a fan of making things right when she can, as in the case of UFC featherweight contender Mark Hominick.
Following his victory over Leonard Garcia at WEC 51, rumors placed the Thamesford, Ontario native opposite featherweight champion Jose Aldo in a title bout that would serve as the co-main event at UFC 125. Unfortunately for Hominick, a broken hand sustained against Garcia would prevent him from fighting for the title, and Josh Grispi was tabbed as his replacement. However, karma stepped in for the first time when Aldo himself was sent to the sidelines with an injury, and Dustin Poirier helped Hominick’s chances even more by upsetting Grispi after stepping in for the injured champion. After initially missing out on the chance to fight for the featherweight crown, the 28-year-old Canadian is now one win away from realizing that dream after all.
Karma might be a bitch, but she can be a beautiful woman too.
UFC President Dana White stated during last week’s conference call for Saturday’s Fight for the Troops 2 event that a victory over George Roop will secure Hominick a shot at Aldo’s 145-pound title. The cherry on top of the sundae of awesomeness is that the bout will take place at UFC 129, the organization’s debut just two hours up the highway from where Hominick lives and trains. Despite the dream-come-true opportunity that waits on the other side of this bout, Hominick is focused on one thing and one thing only.
“I’m fighting George Roop on January 22nd,” answered the long-time Shawn Tompkins trainee when asked about the potential of fighting for a world title in his home province come April. “Right now, I’m just looking at things like I’m a new UFC fighter, and [I need] to have a pretty good stamp on my fight to prove why I am [the #1 contender.]”
This will actually be a return to the UFC for Hominick, who earned a pair of victories inside the Octagon as a lightweight prior to dropping in weight. After a rough start to his featherweight career, Hominick feels like he’s turned a corner, and with four-straight wins heading into Saturday’s nights event at Fort Hood, it’s hard to argue with the man they call “The Machine.”
“When I was coming up, I always thought you hit your prime from 28 to 30 and that’s where I am now, but it’s just like the sport itself; you have to be constantly learning, and I think that I’ve continually done that over the last ten years and I’m starting to reach my full potential.
“I’m comfortable everywhere in the fight,” continued the veteran of more than 25 fights. “The strongest part of my game right now is the mental side of things. That has been the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last few years; to just believe in my skills and go in there and not worry so much about what my opponent is going to do.”
Hominick will have a good idea of what Roop will bring to the cage on Saturday night, as the two have trained together at various points over the last few years. Though each has an alternate team they work with, both spend a portion of their training camps at the Tapout Training Center in Las Vegas working with Tompkins, but Hominick says he didn’t hesitate to accept the UFC’s offer to face the former TUF 8 cast member.
“There’s a big difference between a training partner and a close friend,” offered the expecting father. “It’s not that I don’t like George, but there is a big difference my relationship with guys like Sam Stout and Chris Horodecki and my relationship with George Roop. I’ve known him for the last four or five years, and business is business; we’re both coming off big wins, so let’s do it.
“We talked through email when the fight was announced and said nothing personal; let’s just get it done and move on afterward. We’re friends now and we’ll be friends after, but come January 22nd, I’m going to take him out.”
Only then will Hominick turn his focus to facing Jose Aldo for the featherweight title, the opportunity that almost got away but is now closer than ever thanks to a little assist from karma.
See LeBron, she’s not all bad.