“Never underestimate the heart of a champion.”—Rudy Tomjanovich
Last weekend at UFC 129 in Toronto, Ontario, Mark “the Machine” Hominick proved without any shadow of a doubt that he absolutely possesses the true heart of a champion.
After suffering a serious knockdown in the third round of his fight, Hominick somehow managed to keep his composure intact, and courageously battled his way back by nearly defeating the UFC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo, in the final minute of the fifth and final round.
Imagine if you can—55,000 fans, all on their feet, screaming and cheering at the top of their lungs for Hominick to destroy the battered and vulnerable champion. It almost happened.
The energy in the final moments of Hominick’s fight was nothing short of electric and amazing. I can only imagine that if Hominick had actually won the championship belt that night, the roar from the crowd would have certainly blown the roof off of the Rogers Centre (or at the very least, shredded my ear drums).
Today, I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with Mark, now that he has had some time to relax and reflect on the entire experience.
James Ryan: Hi Mark, how are you today?
Mark Hominick: Doing great, James! What’s going on?
JR: Not too much. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.
MH: Not a problem.
JR: Did I catch you at an alright time? I understand that you and your wife are expecting your first child any day now.
MH: Yeah, it’s just any minute right now. We’re gonna go for a walk after this.
JR: Right on. So, do you know if it’s going to be a boy or a girl?
MH: A girl.
JR: A girl, eh?
MH: Yeah, all fighters have girls.
JR: [Laughs] Is that the unwritten rule?
MH: It is the unwritten rule. [Laughs]
JR: Cool. Alright, well then, let’s get right to this...I would love to get your take on your performance from last weekend. Overall, how do you feel about your performance and how things went?
MH: You know what? Obviously, I’m disappointed, you know? I didn’t win the title and that was what I went in there to do. A lot of people are happy by the performance that I put in though. I made it a competitive fight, and almost took it at the end. But I went in there to win, you know?
I know I was the underdog, but I still...there was nothing in my mind that was saying that I wasn’t going to win that fight.
I think I can beat that guy, you know? A few changes and I think I have the tools to do it.
JR: Well, based on your performance, I would have to agree with you.
Does it feel odd when people congratulate you on your performance, but in your mind, you know that you lost and you didn’t maybe fulfill your goal?
MH: Oh, for sure. Like, it’s definitely rewarding to know that the hard work that I put in—into the training camp and into the fight, is getting rewarded even though I didn’t come out on top. And people respect what I put out there, and the performance that I did put out there, but yeah, like I said, I went there to win.
JR: True enough.
Mark, I recently watched a video of your fight preparations. I guess Shawn Tompkins had put it together?
JR: I watched it on MMeh Fighter and in terms of understanding your preparations and what you go through, I thought it was a really great video. It gave some really cool insights into how you break the fight down, round by round, and how that might be implemented into an actual game plan.
Looking back, how do you feel about the preparations? Do you feel that you went in there with the best possible game plan?
MH: Oh yeah, my training camp is what made me so calm leading up to the fight. There was such a build up for the fight, and such a build up for the show in general, just because it was such a huge thing for Ontario MMA, and MMA in general.
But I think what kept me so focused and calm, was just the training camp that I went through, because I knew I did everything I could in training camp.
There was no stone left unturned. I put my effort—my heart and soul into training camp, so I knew all I needed to do was to go out there and perform because I knew I had put in the work.
JR: Right. So, in the video, they talked about you going in there and just implementing your own game plan, and not worrying about your opponent so much. Do you feel that sort of...is that how things went? Or as the fight went on, were you...?
MH: Yeah, for sure, like, I mean, I backed him off. I did the things that I wanted to do.
The only thing...the momentum that I was taking over in the second and third rounds, I felt I was really...that it was starting to become my fight.
I thought I was winning a lot of the exchanges, but then there was the knockdown. He had good punching power and that’s something that’s God-given, and he definitely has that, and the knockdown that he scored in the third kinda took the wind out of my sails a bit until I came back in the fifth.
JR: Right, okay. And so how would you compare fighting in the WEC to the UFC?
MH: Oh, the event is just that much more respected. It’s so big, you know? Everybody associates MMA with the UFC and there’s such a build up, and there’s so much anticipation for all the fights.
Meanwhile, with the WEC, it almost felt like you were at a fight club type of thing, you know? There was a cult following, and you know, every time you tuned into the WEC, you were gonna get a great fight, so it was pretty special to be a part of that, but the build up—the media build up and the anticipation for the UFC card is second to none. The UFC has done such a great job at marketing themselves and promoting the events properly.
In terms of yourself, once you were in the cage, did you even notice the difference in the size of the crowd?
MH: No, that’s one thing that I’ve always prided myself on, is that I am always focused on the task at hand, and my opponent.
But with that being said, I’ve never fed off of the crowd like I did in that last minute of the fight.
JR: Is that right?
MH: They were so loud, and they were just cheering me on so much, that I was fighting for the crowd, and they were carrying me through that last round and last minute of that round, trying to finish.
But you know, I remember right when they were calling our names, like right before we started fighting, I was just thinking in my head that this is the same as any other fight. It’s just two guys, fighting in a cage, you know? That’s it!
To me, it doesn’t matter how many people are there. I’m just focused on the job in front of me and the task at hand.
JR: Cool, awesome. Last question—the idea of fighting the Korean Zombie...how did that come about?
MH: You know, a lot of people had been mentioning it to me, and that got me thinking about how it would be a great fight.
He just came off of a big win against Leonard Garcia, and he likes to go to war, you know? I know he’d put on a ‘fight of the night’ type of performance, and we both like to go at it, so it’s a fight that makes a lot of sense—not just from the fans point of view, but also from a rankings point of view.
He’s coming off a win, he’s climbing the ladder, and I want to prove that I’m still there and I’m deserving of another title shot after a couple more fights down the road.
JR: Excellent. Have you had any communication at all with the UFC about the possibility of this fight actually happening?
MH: Well, I’m currently under medical suspension for 60 days, so I know I’m not on the top of their list, but if it’s a fight that they want, I’ll sign tomorrow.
JR: Right on!
MH: So, I mean, it’s a fight that I think we both would like. He has shown interest, and I am definitely interested in that fight, and if the UFC wants to sign that—I think it’s one that makes sense, and let’s get on it!
JR: Fantastic Mark! I couldn’t agree more. I would personally love to see that fight happen.
Is there anything else that you would like to mention before I let you go?
MH: Just that the amount of support leading up to the fight, and after the fight has been overwhelming, and it’s just very much appreciated to know that I have people behind me, backing me, and supporting me in all aspects of the game.
JR: Terrific. Well, have a great night and enjoy your walk. Thanks again for your time, Mark.
Best of luck with the new baby.
MH: Sounds good, James. Thank you as well.
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