A lot can change in a year. Just ask Mark Hominick.
Fifty-one weeks ago he was in a cage with Jose Aldo, fighting like a maniac to try and wrestle the featherweight title from a seemingly invincible champion.
He didn’t, and went on to lose two more fights on top of it.
Three losses in a row in the UFC is usually cause for dismissal, though when one is in a title fight, there’s often more leeway. Still, goodwill from his bosses notwithstanding, there are things Hominick needs to work on going forward.
It’s baffling that a man who is so technically proficient as a striker finds himself so battered and bloody after fights with guys who have no business making contact with him.
And yet, that’s where Hominick usually finds himself. Aldo put the most famous haematoma in MMA history on his melon at UFC 129, he was one-punched out cold by Chan Sung Jung, and Eddie Yagin battered him badly at UFC 145.
Of those men, only Aldo is as good a striker as Hominick, and while he’s probably better, it isn’t a landslide.
Hominick needs to get in the gym and work on being a bit more evasive. He’s taking too much damage in his fights, and that’s not the way to win. The foundation is there and it won’t take a lot to fix it, but it needs to be fixed.
Knowing what side your bread is buttered on is important in MMA, and there are few men who know it as well as Hominick. He’s not out there shooting long distance double legs, he’s standing in front of you and looking for a knockout.
The issue, though, is that Hominick actually has an underrated ground game that he almost never uses. It only appears defensively, in fact.
It wouldn’t hurt for him to mix it up a little, work from clinch distance and look for takedowns from time to time. If only to score points or create a different look for his opponent to worry about, it may be time to abandon the pure kickboxing attack he’s been offering recently.
For a man with such good footwork it’s incredibly puzzling how linear Hominick’s attacks have become. He often gets caught on entry and then struggles to get off with combinations once he’s run into a counter, forcing him to circle out, reset, and try again.
Even with 30-plus MMA fights to his credit, he’s a kickboxer at heart. With that background comes a propensity to be more comfortable in bigger gloves, and to leave yourself open to shots that would only ever land in a 4oz. MMA glove.
Again, given how technically skilled he is and how fundamentally sound he is as a striker, it isn’t a big tweak to work on his angles of attack and escape in hopes of tightening up his game.
There might not be a man in MMA who had a worse year personally than Hominick, who lost his coach and friend Shawn Tompkins. Since Tompkins passed, he’s 0-2 and, though he looked far better at UFC 145, he still didn’t look to be himself.
Be it of his own inspiration, or of Joe Silva’s suggestion, Hominick should take some serious time away from the sport to get his head on straight and maximize his mental preparedness.
A return in November in Montreal might make the most sense, because with all due respect to Eddie Yagin, Hominick is far too talented to lose fights to that calibre of opponent.
With Tompkins gone, it may be time for Hominick to take to the road and try to find some new training partners and techniques. He has plenty to bring to the table himself on account of his striking prowess, and matching up with some of the better known camps around could be what helps to re-establish him.
The issue here is that his current team is so family oriented, with blood ties to both Tompkins and fellow fighter Sam Stout, it makes it less likely that such a move would happen.
Still, even if it wasn’t permanent, a few weeks at a gym like American Kickboxing Academy or Xtreme Couture (where Tompkins was a coach) might do Hominick some good in rounding out his game and getting time with some fresh faces.