There was more than a little bit of shock in the MMA world on Tuesday when veteran UFC featherweight Mark Hominick abruptly announced his retirement.
At just 30 years of age, Hominick wasn’t an old man for fighting by any means and it was just four fights ago he was competing for the UFC featherweight title.
The essence of his retirement actually stemmed from that moment, however.
According to Hominick, who dropped his next three fights in a row following the loss to 145-pound champion Jose Aldo at UFC 129, he didn’t want to be just another middle of the road fighter, competing for fight night bonuses and where his best compliment was being told he was an exciting fighter.
“I trained to win that fight, I had every intention to win that fight, but I think I knew that if I wasn’t winning that fight that I was going to make that decision. I’m moving on to the next chapter of my life; there’s a lot of reasons for that. I believe I belong amongst the best in the division. I believe I belong with the Jose Aldos and those guys, and if I’m not competing at that level, then I think it’s time for me to walk away,” Hominick told MMAWeekly Radio on Wednesday.
Hominick has definitely been in his share of wars inside the Octagon, and the Canadian never took it as an insult that people looked at him to always bring excitement to the cage when he performed. The end result, however, had to translate into wins and a move closer to the top of the division or Hominick wasn’t going to be happy with his performance.
“I’m not here just to put on an exciting fight and kind of be an Arturo Gatti type fighter, who goes in there and lays it on the line, because I believe I belong amongst the best,” said Hominick. “I don’t think I’ve been performing to the level that I expect of myself, and I want to be the guy wearing the belt, and fighting for that belt as opposed to that guy that goes and puts on an exciting fight.”
When the announcement was made, just about everyone wondered if Hominick was making a snap decision after losing four fights in a row, most recently dropping a decision to Pablo Garza at UFC 154. He admits that if the fight had ended differently, he would probably still be fighting, but Hominick didn’t win and that made the decision to retire a no-brainer.
“For sure, I definitely would have kept another fight, but I think things in life happen for a reason. That first round I showed a lot of shades of who I am as a fighter with my skills in that fight. I put him down, dropped him with a body shot, and I think I had the opportunity to finish him, but it didn’t happen, so I think things in life happen for a reason. That just speaks for it there,” said Hominick.
When the fight with Garza was over, Hominick had already made up his mind in terms of his future in the cage. Before Bruce Buffer even had a chance to read the final call, Hominick spoke to his coaches and said that was the end of the road for him.
“In the cage, I said it to my trainers before they announced the winner. I walked over to them and said ‘that was it, that was my last fight.’ So I don’t think you’re going to be more honest with yourself than in the heat of battle, in that cage. Because I remember when I got home that Monday I was like no, I want another fight, I want to do it again,” Hominick admitted.
“But again, you’re not going to be more honest with yourself than in that moment, when you’re living by what you do and what you’re driven by.”
So now, as Hominick moves on to the next stage of his career, he’s not walking away from mixed martial arts, just his own fight career. Hominick will still be leading a group of fighters at Team Tompkins, the squad started and founded by his late teacher, mentor, and friend Shawn Tompkins.
Hominick plans on remaining a part of the UFC in whatever capacity they see fit, possibly as a brand ambassador to help continue the sport’s growth in his home country of Canada.
But what about that competitive drive that runs so deep inside of every athlete?
Is there a crack in the door? Is the window left slightly open for a return to the cage?
“I think I have to approach the next phase of my career like I approached the way I fought, and the way I treated my fighting and training, and that was going full steam ahead,” Hominick stated about his commitment to retirement.
“I think that’s the way I’m moving forward.”