LONDON, ONT. - About 12 hours earlier, Mark Hominick was sitting on top of one of the top mixed martial arts fighters in the world, pounding on his face.
A record crowd of 55,724 at UFC 129 in Toronto was screaming encouragement, hoping to push Hominick to what would have been a fairy tale comeback win. For all his guts and determination, Hominick couldn’t do it. Jose Aldo survived the final onslaught to retain the UFC featherweight title.
But Hominick’s voice on the other end of the phone Sunday still surged with adrenaline.
The Thamesford native was bitterly disappointed he’d lost. Without question though, that was the only thing he lost. Everything else declared him a winner.
“It was an unreal experience,” he said. “I wish I had done some things differently. I should have taken him to the ground sooner. In the end, I was happy with how I fought.”
Because of the enormity of UFC 129 and all its hype, Hominick was in the public eye as a competitor. By the end of UFC 129, he was in the public’s heart for his performance.
Aldo/Hominick was the fight that made the night worthy of the hefty admission, far overshadowing the much-hyped George St. Pierre/Jake Shields welterweight title bout.
At the end of the card there was validation of the fight’s entertainment value to the bank account in a $129,000 bonus for each fighter for Fight of the Night.
Aldo is considered pound-for-pound one of the top three MMA fighters in the world.
He dominated Hominick in the first three rounds, then caught Hominick with a couple of shots in the fourth, a round in which Hominick did well.
He was cut and bloodied. In that fourth round, Aldo raised a grotesque egg on Hominick’s forehead. It looked like something an alien would grow in Men in Black. The crowd groaned whenever it was shown.
The referee and doctor checked Hominick twice but let him continue. In the fifth round he got Aldo to the mat and pounded away.
The judges scored it 48-45, 48-46, 49-46 Aldo.
“I came in a 4-1 underdog,” Hominick said. “A lot of people didn’t think I would last a round. I lasted all five. If there was a sixth round, I would have won.”
If he had another minute, he might have won.
“I knew he was running out of steam. I could hear him breathing hard after the first two rounds.”
Hominick is known as The Machine for his training regimen and stamina. He even trained during his honeymoon because after planning his wedding a fight came up.
He fought through the pain, the cuts and the egg Saturday. At the end, he did his trademark pushups with Aldo joining him.
Hominick went to the hospital to be checked out after the fight.
“I’m fine,” he said Sunday. “The forehead is good. It’s really gone down a lot. I was worried the referee would stop the fight.”
Hominick showed great class when it was over. He thanked the referee for not stopping it and immediately gave a shout out to his pregnant wife Ashley.
“I want to say to my wife, I hope I didn’t put you into labour. I love you babe and I hope you’re OK.”
The baby girl is due May 7 and will be named Rhea.
“Yeah, she’s good (Sunday),” Hominick said of his wife. “And the (bonus money) is life-changing.”
Ashley might have to get used to this type of environment. Hominick’s fight is being touted as one of the best in his weight class in recent memory. It made him an instant household name in the UFC and solidified his standing in an organization that values entertainment and perseverance.
He’ll now take some time off and run his Adrenaline Training Centre in London. And he’s looking forward to Rhea’s birth.
But he knows he’s now a hot item. Everyone from UFC president Dana White on down was thrilled with how he fought.
“The way it works is I’ll probably get two more fights and then another title shot.”
At the end of the movie Rocky, Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed are leaning on each other and Creed whispers to Rocky “ain’t gonna” be no rematch. Rocky responds, “Don’t want one.”
A return engagement with Aldo would bring big money except Aldo might jump a weight class. “Besides, I don’t know if he wants another piece of me,” Hominick said.