TORONTO (AP) — It wasn’t until after UFC 129, when his wife snapped a photo of him with her phone in the hospital, that Canadian featherweight Mark Hominick realized what he looked like.
Thanks to 25 minutes in a cage with UFC champion Jose Aldo, it appeared as if an alien was growing out of Hominick’s forehead.
In reality, it was a muffin-sized hematoma.
“I didn’t even know. I thought it was cut until I got to the hospital,” Hominick said. “My wife took a picture of my face with her phone and I almost fell off the bed. ... Definitely it was a pretty scary sight but it looked worse than it was.”
Bad enough that the 50,000-plus crowd at Toronto’s Rogers Centre groaned every time it was shown on the big screens. But Hominick was cleared by doctors that night after an MRI exam and CT scan.
The 29-year-old Hominick said it took three or four hours with an ice pack to get his forehead back to its original shape, but he was left with a pair of black eyes and some swollen cheeks.
“It’s basically your body’s protecting itself with swelling,” he explained.
But the injury remains a talking point.
“Everybody comes up and looks at me. I think they’re still looking for the bump,” Hominick said. “It’s the first question. But it makes the fight memorable.”
Hominick (20-9) lost the April 30 co-main event, but came on strong in the fifth round and made the Brazilian 145-pound champion look human for the first time in a long time.
Hominick returns to action Saturday night against Chan Sung Jung of Korea at UFC 140 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
He is one of seven Canadians on the card, which is headlined by light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former title-holder Lyota Machida.
A new father, Hominick enjoyed some time off after the Aldo bout — daughter Raeya arrived two weeks after the bout and he was suspended for 60 days (one of seven such medical bans handed out by the Ontario Athletics Commission).
“Perfect timing with the baby,” said Hominick, who resumed running within two weeks after the fight.
He used some of his $129,000 fight-of-the-night bonus to pare down his mortgage and bolster his daughter’s education fund. And he treated himself to a quad ATV.
A gifted technical striker who has worked hard to feel comfortable on the ground, Hominick’s standup skills will be tested against Jung.
The Korean (11-3) turned heads in a slugfest loss to Leonard Garcia in an April 2010 WEC fight and earned his revenge in March in the UFC when he stopped Garcia with a rare Twister submission.
“I love watching his fights,” Hominick said.
Despite being on the wrong end of the Aldo results — the judges scored it 48-45, 48-46, 49-46 for the champ — Hominick says he has no regrets.
“He won, I lost,” Hominick said. “It was a great fight. I was glad I got to show what kind of fighter I was. Because basically I felt I showed the last 15 years of my life in that fight — the amount of dedication, the amount of heart I put towards the sport and put towards my training. I got to show the whole world. It was almost like a 15-year overnight sensation.
“I went in with the mentality that he’s just a fighter and any fighter can be beat. I came close and I’m going to work tirelessly until I can beat him or whoever the champion is.”
Hominick will be fighting Jung without coach Shawn Tompkins, who died of a heart attack in August. He was 37.
“It’s our responsibility to carry on Shawn’s legacy,” said Hominick, whose gym Adrenaline Training Center in London, Ontario, is the home to Team Tompkins.
“And the way we do that is you go there and win.”