Mark Hominick has a chance to write history.
Not only can he win the UFC featherweight title in the first fight for that belt in the promotion's history but he can accomplish it in his home country of Canada.
It's been a long road for "The Machine" leading up to this moment, a career that is the exact opposite of fighters like Brock Lesnar, who fought for the title after only a handful of fights under his belt.
In the weeks leading up to UFC 129, I'll take take a look at the six men involved in the three high profile fights on the card. Last week, I discussed Lyoto Machida and Randy Couture. This week I'll tackle the co-main event. In it, Mark Hominick challenges Jose Aldo for the featherweight crown.
Does "The Machine" have it in him to dethrone the 145-pound king? Or will he be the latest victim claimed within Aldo's whirlwind of violence?
Let's take a look at his action-packed bout with fellow Canadian Yves Jabouin at WEC 49, a fight whose second round was voted the best of the year.
Mark Hominick started his career off fighting in regional MMA promotions in Canada. By the time he got called up to the big leagues of the UFC, he was 9-4 and was the TKO Major League MMA featherweight champion.
He competed at UFC 58: "USA vs. Canada" and earned a submission victory over veteran Yves Edwards. He only made one more appearance inside the Octagon, beating Jorge Gurgel by decision before heading back to his native country.
Hominick would continue to fight in Canada but would also occasionally make his way south to fight for World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Affliction.
He would finally find a permanent home with the WEC in 2010 where's amassed four consecutive victories. The most impressive win was last June in Edmonton, Alberta. He squared off against Yves Jabouin, another kickboxer also known for finishing fights in exciting fashion.
Let's check it out.
Jabouin starts off quickly, throwing jabs and an inside leg kick. A head kick is blocked by "The Machine" and it's readily apparent that these two are here to bang.
Hominick starts to open up a bit more rather than looking for the counter about 90-seconds into the fight. He controls the center of the cage but can't seem to string any offense together. Jabouin is bouncing around too much for him, it seems.
Jabouin lands a nice punch and immediately follows up with a spinning back-fist that connects but not solidly. Hominick, for his part, is able to land a solid body punch and a nice counter to Jabouin's jaw, no doubt one he felt for days.
Jabouin just won't stop moving. He's throwing strikes, an equal number of punches and kicks, from all sorts of angles while Hominick prefers to keep it more orthodox and stalks his fellow Canadian around the cage. He lands a second body shot that surely rearranges some internal organs.
The tale of the first round was Hominick's patience and countering pitted against Jabouin's speed and barrage of strikes.
The second round is an extension of the first: non-stop action. Within a minute, Jabouin spins around again but doesn't land a punch this time. He lands solidly against Hominick's skull with a devastating elbow.
Hominick doesn't seemed fazed and answers back with an overhand right. He presses his opponent against the cage and launches his fist like a cruiser missile and buries it deep into Jabouin's ribcage. "Tiger" crumbles to the mat and Hominick smells blood.
"The Machine" throws a handful of wide looping punches as Jabouin makes his way back to his feet. He's met with a head kick from Hominick that is barely blocked. The barrage has temporarily stopped and "Tiger" is able to bob and weave out of a few strikes.
Is he done for? Has Hominick, for all intents and purposes, stopped Jabouin? Not even close. The Haitian-Canadian spins around for the third time and again is able to smash his elbow into his fellow Canadian's jaw. With a chin made of granite, "The Machine" shrugs off the strikes and latches onto his opponent's back.
He shoves Jabouin onto one knee and begins to pelt him with punches until "Tiger" once again gets vertical. But like his nickname, Jaobuin is most dangerous when cornered. He whiffs a left uppercut but lands a right hook solidly against Hominick's chin that sends the Canadian crashing to the mat.
From the jaws of defeat, it looks like Jabouin is going to snatch victory.
But Hominick recovers quickly and throws his leg in the air to impede his opponent. "Tiger" tries to land some punches before diving into his opponent's guard. Hominick shows off his grappling chops and sweeps that Haitian-Canadian into full mount.
From there, it's old school Mark Coleman-esque ground and pound. Jabouin tries to avoid the stoppage as long as he can but his gas tank is empty, thanks in part to those insanely brutal body shots Hominick landed.
When the referee finally does call the fight, "The Machine" hops off his fallen opponent and begins to do push-ups in the center of the cage. "Cardio for days" seems to be his message.
Aside from his time in the regional Canadian promotions of TKO Major League and Universal Combat Challenge, this was the first time he fought in front of his countrymen on a grander stage. Now, two fights and two wins later, he's set to fight on the grandest stage the UFC has ever had.
UFC 129. Toronto. 55,000 screaming fans.
Hominick has said he feels that his career in the sport hasn't been a sprint but a marathon. Nearly 10 years and almost 30 fights into his personal race, he may finally reach the finish line when he raises his arms in victory, in front of his fellow Canadians.
With UFC gold strapped around his waist.