After a valiant effort but disappointing result against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 129, Mark Hominick returns this weekend to the Octagon to face Korean Top Team's Chan Sung Jung at UFC 140. This is Hominick's second fight this year in the UFC and coincidentally, both will have taken place on home turf in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This time, however, his long-time coach and friend Shawn Tompkins - who unexpectedly passed away earlier this year - will not be in his corner.
In this interview with MMA Nation Radio, Hominick talks about the loss to Aldo, whether new challenger Chad Mendes can defeat the reigning featherweight king, how Hominick views Jung's pledge and efforts to clean up his technique, moving on without Tompkins and more.
Full audio and transcription:
Luke Thomas: Alright joining me right now on the McDonald's hot line, he's taking on Chan Sung Jung Saturday, this weekend of course December 10th in the Air Canada Centre as part of the pay-per-view at UFC 140. The one and only Mark "The Machine" Hominick. Mark, how are you sir?
Mark Hominick: Excellent, how you doing?
Luke Thomas: I'm doing well Mark, the last time we spoke, it was right before your fight for UFC 129 and you told me, if I'm not mistaken, that your mother finally came around and she was excited to see you compete and she was even telling her co-workers about it and of course, you put on a fantastic affair, but your face had a bit of an issue. Was your mother ever, at any point, saying anything to you about it like, "I told you so, I told you not to do it." What was her response?
Mark Hominick: Well she won't be at this one, I'll tell you that much. It's gotta be stressful for a mom, for a wife, for anyone who has a loved one fighting and competing in the UFC.
Luke Thomas: Alright, so now you're back in Canada, you're fighting for the second time this year in Toronto. You're not exactly from Toronto but you're from Canada. Where are you from precisely?
Mark Hominick: Yeah, it's just outside London, Ontario, so it's like an hour and a half drive so it's definitely nice fighting in the same time zone, no flight, no added pressure in that way and having the hometown crowd behind me is always a benefit.
Luke Thomas: Certainly, I think your fight, it didn't go your way, but I believe pundits would agree as well but your fight in some way outshone the Georges St. Pierre / Jake Shields fight. Do you feel like it was your hometown, you were super-prepared - you did a ton of media. Do you feel disappointed with the effort? I'm not here to criticize, but was it falling short of your own expectations?
Mark Hominick: You know what, no. I think I proved a lot to myself as a fighter. I proved a lot to the UFC, I proved a lot to the fans. I was a 5-1 underdog in that fight. I wasn't supposed to get out of that first round but in the fifth round, I was moments away from wearing that world title belt so it was an eye opener for a lot of people and it's weird how you can have momentum coming off a loss but I feel that. I felt like my career really took off with that fight and now it's my responsibility to carry that momentum forward for Saturday night.
Luke Thomas: How close do you feel you were to stopping Aldo in that fifth round?
Mark Hominick: You know, it's hard to say. I was giving everything, every last effort but he's the champion and he's a champion for a reason. I think he hung out there, hung out in that last round knowing he was ahead and trying to take as little damage as he could but yeah, I was pushing the pace. I was trying to put him away and we got "Fight of the Night" and it was going down in history as one of the better fights in the UFC.
Luke Thomas: One more question about Aldo and then we'll move on to more contemporary matters I guess. Aldo is facing Chad Mendes not too long from now. What chance do you give Mendes against Aldo?
Mark Hominick: You know what, at first I was leaning towards Mendes but the more I break down the fight, I think Aldo's got the skills to beat him. If you look at the fight with Urijah, I think it's gonna be very similar to that and if you look at Mendes, he's only had 10 fights so he's been very dominant in all those fights sp we've never really seen him in trouble. How's he gonna react when Aldo puts him in trouble and I think Aldo's got that fight.
Luke Thomas: Let's talk about your fight with Chan Sung Jung, well known to hardcores and especially Japanese MMA fan hardcores. If someone were to ask you who you were fighting and they were basically familiar in MMA and asked you to describe your opponent, how would you describe his fighting style in that way?
Mark Hominick: It's kind of like a tornado. He comes at you very aggressive, likes to push the pace with a lot of wild attacks but the thing a lot of people overlook because they've seen him in so many battles but he's got a very strong ground game and I think that's gonna be the gameplan and what he's gonna try to implement on Saturday night against me. His last fight against Leonard Garcia, he won the Submission of the Year this year so he's definitely got a strong ground game and I think that's what he's gonna try to do.
Luke Thomas: The twister was pretty exemplary, but there was something I noticed in that fight, not just for the first and the second Garcia fight but really in his entire career, I think that George Roop head kick kind of affected him. He fought basically very wild, he still is wild but he seemed like trying a little more direction, a little more focus, less caution to the wind. This late in his career, 15 fights or more deep, can you realistically do that? If you got to the dance being wild, can you all of the sudden change up at this level in MMA?
Mark Hominick: Well the thing is, if you look at a lot of the best fighters at the highest point of their career, a guy like Georges St. Pierre is the perfect example, you have to be constantly evolving as a fighter. There's so many skills to learn, so many things you can implement into your game. I know the fighter I am today is better than the fighter I was yesterday. You have to be constantly evolving your skills so yeah, there's things you can add. But yeah, there's stuff that's also instinctual, like I think The Korean Zombie could come in with a new gameplan, but as soon as he gets hit, your instincts do kick in and I can see the wild punches coming right after that as well, but it's a game of constant evolution.
Luke Thomas: I certainly don't want to tread into too sad territory, but obviously this is a question that has to be asked. This is your first fight since the unfortunate passing of your coach, Shawn Tompkins. Georges Roop did lose his bout against Hatsu Hioki but he did look motivated. It didn't seem to drag his performance down. How are you feeling heading into this bout? Obviously with a heavy heart, but is it firing you up? Talk to me about your emotions regarding that situation as you head into Saturday night's fight.
Mark Hominick: It was obviously a devastating loss losing Shawn. Shawn was so many things to me. He was more than just a coach. It would be unjust to just call him that. He was a mentor, he was at my wedding, he was one of the most influential persons in my life. It was a devastating loss but I'm looking at it like I'm motivated to carry on his name and carry on his legacy and let him know that Team Tompkins is not stopping now. That's the way we do that is we go out there and perform and we go out there and win. It's a motivating factor for sure.
Luke Thomas: Update the fans and me, actually. What is the status of Team Tompkins?
Mark Hominick: Oh, we're still a strong team. The thing with mixed martial arts is you have a coaching staff. You have a wrestling coach, a boxing coach, all these coaches. The thing is Shawn was the leader, he carried us forward. Everyone is still under Team Tompkins and we're still keeping that alive. We all had to step up a piece in our own way to fill some of his leadership roles but again, we're carrying the name and we're carrying the team as we always had.
Luke Thomas: Mark, Air Canada Centre, it's a smaller venue obviously than that momentous show that was UFC 129. I was there, there's nothing like it and I've been to a billion UFC shows. That one sets it apart from all of them. Ticket sales are good for this event but it's not sold out yet and Toronto is believed to be the hottest market. A little surprised by the response? If you look at the fight card, it's incredibly stacked.
Mark Hominick: For sure and again, it's hard to live up to the hype and live up to the expectations of the first show because 55,000 people, record selling, it was a part of history. There's obviously been a lot going on in the MMA world, there's been a lot going on in the sports world that maybe overlooked promotion for this fight but it's a huge card and the fighters are gonna deliver and I know the fans are gonna deliver as well. It's gonna be electric in that place and the Toronto fans are known for being the best in the world and I expect nothing less.
Luke Thomas: Based on your observation and what you know about what's going on in Toronto, when I was there, it seemed to be pretty healthy, but how would you describe the state of the economy in Toronto?
Mark Hominick: It's up and down, similar to any state. It's trying times for many people but it is a big sports community that always comes out to support.
Luke Thomas: Alright, real quickly if we can, I want to get your opinion on the three biggest fights on the card real quickly before we let you go. Tito Ortiz, Little Nogueira, who do you like?
Mark Hominick: I really like Nogueira here and I think this will be the last time you see Tito Ortiz in the UFC.
Luke Thomas: Is it because, I think once you break the ice and start talking about retirement, I think that really starts to undo your focus. Do you agree with that?
Mark Hominick: I think he wants to put on a good performance and no question I think he's trained but yeah, I think he's got nothing else to prove too. I don't think he has to prove anything else. He was one of the pioneers of the UFC, especially the modern day UFC and I'd like to see him go out with his head held high.
Luke Thomas: Frank Mir, Big Nogueira, what do you think about that one?
Mark Hominick: I'm back and forth on this fight. I don't know. If I had to put money, I'd put money on Mir.
Luke Thomas: Alright, the main event, 10 inch reach disadvantage Lyoto Machida is facing, a guy, he can't kick here because he'll get taken down and beat up, what do you think? Jon Jones retains the title or not?
Mark Hominick: I think Jon Jones, he just looks so unstoppable but with that being said, Machida does present a lot of problems that Jones hasn't faced and I think Jones is gonna bring in a lot of his wrestling that we haven't really seen.
Luke Thomas: Alright, Mark Hominick takes on Chan Sung Jung on the pay-per-view portion of the card, UFC 140 this weekend, live on pay-per-view. Mark, I can't tell you, "Thank you," enough. Best of luck to you this Saturday and I appreciate you being on the show.
Mark Hominick: It goes both ways, I appreciate you for having me.