The moment of truth in MMA is absolutely crucial for a fighter's career. The moment will be standing across the cage from you time and time again, whether it's your professional debut, or your first UFC title defense. For featherweight champion Jose Aldo, it'll be the latter come Saturday night. Not only will this be the first featherweight title fight under the UFC banner, Mark Hominick is the most legitimate threat to Aldo he's faced since winning the WEC title against Mike Brown.
Aldo has impressed fans across the globe with his fighting, brutal muay thai wowing all who get to catch a peek at his technique. He crushed Mike Brown, who some thought would use his large frame and wrestling to smother Aldo. He picked apart and brutalized former champion Urijah Faber in his first title defense. Then, he knocked out Manny Gamburyan. These three wins are solid, no doubt, but there's yet to be a fight where he appeared to be legitimately threatened. This will change come Saturday night's showdown between the champion and Hominick.
Hominick is riding a four fight win streak, and coming off a knock out victory over George Roop at UFC Fight for the Troops 2. Although Hominick was rightly favored over Roop, the methodical destruction of his opponent wasn't just the kind that you see when the favorite wins. Hominick accuracy and footwork were on point, and I mean on POINT. It was the kind of performance he'll go back and show people when he's retired and tells people that he used to be a fighter. That is, unless he can put on a similar performance against Jose Aldo.
I'm fully confident that the majority of this match will be decided on the feet, and that if it hits the ground, we'll see a quick scramble with both fighters firing off strikes as they stand and separate. Both champion and challenger have a punchers chance, as well as technical striking. It's a hard fight to call if you're not one of the 55,000 people who will be crowding into the arena, all backing the Canadian Hominick as he challenges for the title in a historic match. It's the moment of truth for Aldo here. If he clears this hurdle, he may very well reign as champion for a long time. Youth and a great camp are on his side as well, he'll be improving as he holds the title, further establishing him as king of the featherweight hill. The only thing I feel is certain of in this fight is that it'll be exciting, and definitely fight of the night material. Co-Headlining this event with Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields is a great way to introduce the title and champion to UFC fans who aren't aware of them, and I expect they'll be impressed with what they see.
Photo via Dave Mandel, for Sherdog