Monday, April 25, 2011 | 2:05 p.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer spend their weekly radio show, which airs Monday at 5:30 on 91.5 KUNV, discussing the UFC 129 fight card. They break down whether Randy Couture has a shot to upset Lyoto Machida and what makes him such a legend in the eyes of many, while also touching on the two title fights.
UFC top featherweight contender Mark Hominick is going to experience three of the most memorable moments of his life on three consecutive weekends.
It started last Friday when Hominick threw out the first pitch before his hometown Toronto Blue Jays’ game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Hominick will be back at the Rogers Centre Saturday fighting Jose Aldo for the featherweight world title in the co-Main Event of UFC 129.
A week later, his wife is due to give birth to the couple’s first child.
“This whole event has been such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Hominick said. “It’s just been crazy. I’m really enjoying the ride.”
Hominick, who trains in Las Vegas with Team Tompkins, knew a January victory over George Roop at UFC: Fight For The Troops 2 would earn him his first title shot in a major organization. He wasn’t aware of how much the opportunity would change his life.
With a hometown bout as part of the biggest North American MMA card ever, Hominick is receiving more recognition and attention than he ever imagined.
“It’s almost like — I’m going into my 10th year fighting — and I’m an overnight success,” Hominick said. “That’s what it seems like because all of a sudden there’s so much anticipation for the show.”
A lot of that excitement has to do with the UFC debut of Aldo, who is 18-1 in his MMA career and unanimously considered one of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Aldo’s first octagon appearance was slated for UFC 125 in January, but he had to cancel with an injury.
“There was no frustration,” Aldo said through a translator. “I wanted to fight in January and it didn’t happen, but some things happen for a reason and now is my time.”
Hominick (20-8) is convinced he’s the one to slow the Aldo machine. The 28-year-old has enjoyed the best stretch of his career in the last three years.
Hominick has won his last five bouts, showing how well rounded of a fighter he’s become in the process. Two of those victories were by submission, two were by knockout and one came via decision.
But the distractions were minimal for those contests compared to UFC 129. With a baby girl on the way, Hominick has juggled training with helping his wife.
“It’s a bit overwhelming and I have a busy schedule,” Hominick said, “but I’m good at delegating myself to following a straight guideline with what has to be done.”
Hominick has concentrated more of his camp in Ontario than usual so his wife’s family can assist with her pregnancy.
He’d love nothing more than to become a father and a champion within a span of days. Either way, he’s sure he’ll cherish this month for the rest of his life.
“I’ll look back and say, ‘Wow, that was a crazy time,’” Hominick said.