Gutsy Stand Makes ‘Machine’ a Star

By Jason Probst May 3, 2011

A star was born at UFC 129. | Photo:

Hollywood could not have scripted it any better. Hometown challenger takes on a great champion, absorbs a beating early, becomes horribly disfigured, and, then, after being waved clear to continue in a tense-as-tense-can-be doctor exam, rallies huge down the stretch to put the champion on his heels.

Mark Hominick is truly worthy of being nicknamed “The Machine,” but what’s next for Jose Aldo, the still-amazing but now-human featherweight king?

Honestly, with Hominick’s performance at UFC 129 on Saturday in Toronto, I’d rather see Aldo and him fight later. That’s because Hominick performed so impressively that a loss in the short-term will not hurt his long-term marketability for a title shot, especially against Aldo. Hominick might be wrestled and held down against tough contenders like Chad Mendes, but in a five-round standup battle, he is bad news for anyone. I’m not sure there is anyone else who can say that presently.

Kenny Florian is dropping to 145 pounds and taking on Diego Nunes at UFC 131, but that is a real wild card. Florian may be venturing into Joe Riggs/James Irvin territory with this weight cut, given that he has fought as a globbed-up welterweight and, later, a finely tuned lightweight. We’ll have to see how he handles the drop in poundage.

Previous Aldo opponents do not have Hominick’s kickboxing background, and, as such, it is a lot harder to absorb the big shots he did, especially early, when Aldo was digging a liver punch-leg kick combination with the kind of viciousness that makes you flinch. Hominick has formally earned an “anytime” invite on my pay-per-view wish list and yours, too.

Aldo may have been sluggish from the weight cut, but he showed serious skill in handling it as he tired. Despite looking fatigued by the second round, his hard wiring still allowed him to parcel out big shots and keep slipping in some breathtaking sequences. Technically, this was a two-way, five-round masterpiece of ebb and flow, one that has few equals.
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