When Mark Hominick steps inside the cage tonight (Sat., Dec. 10, 2011) at UFC 140: "Jones vs. Machida" at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, against Chan Sung Jung, he'll do so with a heavy heart.
That's because Hominick recently lost his head trainer and mentor, Shawn Tompkins, who died of a heart attack on Aug. 14 at the age of 37. For the first time, the Canadian will climb inside the cage without Tompkins in his corner, guiding him along his way.
Obviously, that will be terribly difficult to overcome. But one way of doing so is to fight for his late coach's honor. In fact, Hominick says he's going to be even more motivated to win this fight because it's now his responsibility to carry on Tompkins' legacy.
A tough burden to bear, no question, but if anyone is up for the job, it's the man they call "The Machine."
Chan Sung Jung is the man charged with breaking hearts by getting in the way of that. No one can fault him for doing his job, of course, because that's all he can do at the end of the day; what he's paid to.
This fight is especially important for "The Korean Zombie" because it would give him consecutive impressive victories. And in a talent depraved division like the 145-pound weight class, that means he's just a fight or two from a title shot.
Fighting for honor is admirable. But that doesn't mean fighting for a title shot is any less meaningful. The question is whether or not Sung Jung will be up to the task of stopping Hominick from accomplishing his goal.
It won't be easy. And maybe neither Hominick nor Sung Jung accomplish what they're setting out to do. But one thing is almost certain.
It should be a fun fight. Something tells me the smiles that will come with that will be plenty tribute.