As he hovered over Jose Aldo on Saturday night, pelting him with lefts and rights in a last-ditch effort to claim the UFC featherweight title, Mark Hominick experienced a career first: The roar of the crowd.
“The only time I heard the crowd was in the last 30 seconds, and I was feeding off their energy,” Hominick said about the 55,724 fans at Rogers Centre. “That’s the first time in my whole career I’ve ever done that.
“The crowd was carrying me in that last 30 seconds. Each cheer was riding through my punches, and I was trying to finish him … I was giving it everything I had.”
Punished by the heavily favoured Aldo for four rounds (including a wince-inducing welt on his forehead), Hominick, 28, frenzied the crowd with his Round 5 barrage.
He referred to the bout as a “war.”
“Five five-minute rounds, I don’t think people understand how difficult it is, and how far you have to dig,” said Hominick. “I was definitely going on the crowd. It was a pretty surreal experience.”
But it looked like it might not happen, after a visit from the ring doctor at the end of Round 4.
“John McCarthy really saved the day, the referee,” Hominick said, adding that a post-fight hospital visit showed no problems. “He knows me not just as a fighter, he knows me on a personal level … and he knew it would have been devastating if he had have stopped the fight. He knew I was still capable and healthy to compete.”
Aldo-Hominick was named fight of the night at UFC 129, earning each fighter a $129,000 bonus. Handy, considering Hominick and wife Ashley are expecting the birth of their first child, daughter Raeya, on Saturday.
“Unbelievable!” Hominick said from his Thamesford, Ont., home. “That’s life-changing, there’s no question there. It couldn’t be at a better time with the baby on the way.”
That’s his focus right now.
“I’m excited, my wife’s about to have a baby, and we’ll move on to that part of our life,” Hominick said. “From there, we move on, back to the drawing board. The UFC, as soon as I’m healthy and willing to fight, they want me back.
“They said another couple of wins, they’ll give me another title shot.”