UFC president Dana White brought a whole new level of pressure to the upcoming UFC Fight for the Troops 2 card this weekend when he announced that if Mark Hominick defeats George Roop, he would then fight Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight title at UFC 129 in Toronto.
Nevermind the fact that Hominick has been gunning for a shot at the 145-pound belt, but Toronto also just happens to be near his hometown of London in Ontario, Canada.
Hominick was actually asked to fight Aldo earlier this month, but the timing wasn’t right, and now if he’s successful on Saturday, he could have the biggest opportunity of his career awaiting him in his native land.
“I got offered the fight with Jose Aldo for Jan. 1 and I still had the cast on my hand, so it would only give me about three weeks to train for him, and you only get one shot at the title, so it was not a smart fight to take,” Hominick told MMAWeekly Radio.
“Things in life happen for a reason. It’s panning out that way and I truly do believe in that. You’ve just got to keep training hard and keep focused on the prize, and get the win on Jan. 22.”
White’s announcement could rattle some fighters simply because of the extra pressure to win and get the title shot. Others could see it as a distraction to hear that kind of news just a few days before their next fight. Hominick sees it as neither.
“Not really,” he answered when asked if the announcement affected him negatively. “I treat every fight like a world title fight. Especially if you are there, or you’re next in line or whatever it is, the pressure’s going to be on you for that fight, and you could argue for every single fight. Added pressure, I think, is a good thing. If you can’t get through anybody, then you don’t deserve to get the title shot.”
Of course leading into his bout against teammate George Roop this weekend, Hominick knows that everybody is going to be asking about Jose Aldo and the pending title shot, but as he tells it, none of that matters if he doesn’t win this weekend.
“It’s tough when you’re fighting next week and that’s your priority, but it’s great news and this is why I’m in the sport,” said Hominick. “This is an individual sport and there’s one person at the top and you’re always gunning for him, so when you finally get that opportunity, it’s close on the horizon. I’ve just got to get through George Roop. He’s a serious opponent and I take him serious.”
Hominick takes Roop seriously because beyond being a very tough fighter in his own right, the two have trained together for several months under famed coach Shawn Tompkins in Las Vegas.
Roop left the camp for this particular fight because Hominick and Tompkins have roots going back several years, but the Canadian understands just how tough his friend and teammate is inside the cage.
While it has rarely happened in the UFC, a teammate will fight a teammate on Saturday night with a title shot, at least for Hominick, on the line.
“It’s part of the game. We’re in the same division and we’re both gunning for that title shot prize, so whoever’s in line that’s who you’re going to have to fight. We’re friends before, we’ll be friends after, but we’re going to be competitors in the cage,” said Hominick
The featherweights will square off at this weekend’s UFC Fight for the Troops 2 in Fort Hood, Texas.