MONTREAL — Mark Hominick and Sam Stout are filled with a sense of nostalgia heading into their respective UFC 154 bouts.
The Team Tompkins teammates have helped one another prepare for fights all throughout their professional careers, but they haven’t competed on a card together in over six years.
On Saturday at the Bell Centre that streak will come to an end as Thamesford, Ont.’s Hominick takes on Pablo Garza on the main card, while London, Ont.’s Stout meets Montreal’s John Makdessi in a featured preliminary bout.
Watch UFC 154 preliminary fights on Sportsnet on Saturday starting at 8 p.m. ET plus an hour-long preview show at 7 p.m. ET. Also, catch live early prelims on Sportsnet.ca starting at 6 p.m. ET.
Both fighters say that this week has brought back a slew of memories from early times in their careers.
“There’s definitely a nostalgia feeling because this is where all of us started, not just Sammy and myself,” Hominick told Sportsnet.ca. “Patrick Cote, Georges St-Pierre (who also competes at UFC 154), we were all champions in the TKO organization, so it’s almost a coming home party and it’s nice to have that comfortable setting.”
Stout and Hominick fought on the same card at six separate events back when the two competed in the defunct Canadian MMA promotion TKO Championship Fighting. Five of those fights happened to take place in Montreal as well (with the other in nearby Victoriaville, Que.)
The two also competed together at UFC 58: USA vs. Canada in 2006, with both emerging victorious. (In fact, St-Pierre also competed on the card and the three were the only Canadians to win among the 10-fight slate of fights pitting Americans vs. Canucks.)
All told, Stout and Hominick are a combined 12-2 when they fight at the same events, which could be a good omen heading into Saturday.
“The last fight in the UFC that we fought (on the same card) was UFC 58, it was our debut and GSP was the co-main event on that so there is definitely some nostalgia,” Stout told Sportsnet.ca. “We feel really at home here; it’s a pretty cool feeling to be back here with (Mark).”
Since the tragic death of their longtime coach Shawn Tompkins in the summer of 2011, both Hominick and Stout have changed the way they prepare for fights.
Although they still mostly train together at the Adrenaline Training Center in London, Ont., they also travel to the United States separately to train with new training partners in order to expand their horizons.
Hominick has frequented Chicago to train with grappling standout and former UFC bantamweight Jeff Curran and his cousin, Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran. Stout, on the other hand, has been going to Boston to train with Mark DellaGrotte and Team Sityodtong.
“Aside from the times we split up to go to Boston or Chicago (training for UFC 154) was done together,” Hominick explained. “It’s always nice to have a guy in your training camp who’s also training for a fight because you peak at the same time.”
Stout added that DellaGrotte brings a sense of structure to his preparation that has been absent in the last year or so.
“The biggest thing that he brings to the table is confidence for me,” Stout said. “Having that confidence I had in Shawn Tompkins in a coach again. For a minute there I really didn’t have it, I was basically training myself, didn’t have anybody overseeing my training camp, helping me with game plan. I’m a fighter, I’m not a coach; I can’t do that stuff all myself. Having Mark (DellaGrotte) here has really given me a lot of confidence and it’s just nice that you can have a voice that you can trust in my corner again.”
It’s interesting that Stout and DellaGrotte have developed the relationship they have considering the circumstances under which they first met years ago.
“When I first met him was when I lost to Kenny Florian when he was working his corner (in 2006), but over the years we’ve hung out on the road and always got along, him and Shawn got along really well,” Stout said. “In fact, when Shawn was still alive and he would get fed up with me sometimes, we’d be fighting and he would always say, ‘Forget this, I’m just going to send you off to DellaGrotte.’ So I heard from his mouth that’s who he would have wanted me to train with so that made it an easy decision.”
Stout (18-7-1) will look for a fourth win in his last five bouts, while Hominick (20-11) is trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss.
NOTES: Hominick will enter the Octagon to the song ‘Kickstart My Heart’ by Motley Crue. The band’s drummer, Tommy Lee, was actually set to accompany Hominick to the cage. However, Lee was forced to cancel his trip to Montreal … Hominick and his wife Ashleigh have a second baby on the way; however, unlike his first, whose due date was famously very close to his scheduled UFC 129 fight at the Rogers Centre in Toronto in April 2011, this one isn’t expected until January. “Two months after the fight instead two days,” Hominick joked on Wednesday.