Mark (The Machine) Hominick has a point to make in Atlanta on Saturday night.
"I'm reminding them that I'm still one of the best in this division," said the 29-year-old featherweight from Thamesford, Ont.
Standing in his way at UFC 145 is Eddie (The Filipino Phenom) Yagin.
Hominick (20-10) went from fighting Jose Aldo for the 145-pound title last April at UFC 129 to entering the UFC record book for all the wrong reasons in December.
An over-aggressive Hominick came out swinging and missed at UFC 140 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre. The Korean Zombie, aka Chan Sung Jung, didn't and won by KO in 6.2 seconds.
It was the second-fastest knockout in UFC history, sandwiched between's Duane Ludwig's six-second KO of Jonathan (The Road Warrior) Goulet and Todd Duffee's seven-second finish of Tim (The Thrashing Machine) Hague.
For those keeping score, Goulet and Hague (both out of the UFC) are also Canadian.
Hominick says the UFC 140 debacle was a bizarre one-off.
"I didn't even watch it again ... I fought out of character, came out so reckless and aggressive and I paid the price," he said.
"It's weird that after 10 years fighting professionally you have to learn a beginner lesson but that's what happened in that fight. Fighting out of character you sometimes have to pay the price."
He acknowledges, however, that he had a lot on his mind going into the fight.
It was his first outing since the August death of long-time trainer and friend Shawn Tompkins. And, fighting in Toronto again, he wanted to build on his gutsy showing in the final round of his loss by decision to Aldo earlier that year at the Rogers Centre.
It proved to be a recipe for disaster, despite the fact that Hominick felt he was in better shape than even the gruelling Aldo fight.
"I wanted to prove so much. I think that was the main thing.," he said. "I wasn't focused on just winning. I was focused on really answering a lot of questions — we're still going to carry on Shawn's name, I was going to live up to the hype of the Aldo fight. As opposed to just 'Okay I'm going to go out there and I'm going to win.' I had other things I was trying to prove, so it was almost like I was fighting with a chip on my shoulder and that's out of character for me."
With UFC 145 having been moved from March 24 in Montreal to this weekend in Atlanta, Hominick has attracted less attention than he might have garnered north of the border. Especially since media interest has been focused almost exclusively on the main event and bad blood between light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones and former title-holder Rashad Evans.
"I've almost flown under the radar with this show," Hominick said. "The last two fights being in Toronto, there was a lot of added pressure and a lot of extra demands. I've definitely got a new found respect for guys who headline events."
Hominick is a prohibitive favourite to beat the 33-year-old Yagin (15-5-1), who lost his UFC debut by decision to Junior Assuncao at UFC 135. Bookies rate Hominick anywhere from 5-1 to 9-1.
"It's weird because I almost have to sell his credibility," he said. "This guy's been in the sport longer than me. ... He came up in the Hawaii-based promotion and he was a headliner over there. And he's fought a lot of tough guys over the years. He's never shied away from taking tough competition.
"He's got a dangerous overhand right and he's got a really good guillotine. So it's a fight. This is no easy task. But I'm trained, ready, ready to take him out."
Hominick has turned to an old friend for this training camp, reuniting with Jeff Curran who cornered his UFC debut at UFC 56 in March 2006.
"We've always kept our relationship, but I spent more time with Shawn," said Hominick, who used to spend the bulk of his training camp with Tompkins in Las Vegas.
"I'm comfortable with him, have a lot of confidence with him," he said of Curran, who at five foot six is similar in size to Yagin.
Hominick, who is 5-8, has spent a week at a time at Curran's Chicago-area gym, making the seven-hour drive on a Sunday and then returning after Saturday morning practice.
While away from home, he slept in living quarters attached to the gym.
"You open your bedroom door and you're on the mat," he said.
For Hominick, it was a welcome return to his early days as a fighter.
"I like that kind of mindset, I like that feeling. You're there for a reason, you're there to do work and I enjoy that."
After the fight, the focus will be on daughter Raeya's first birthday May 14.
Hominick will also be watching with interest the fight between the Korean Zombie and rising star Dustin Poirier on May 15 in Fairfax, Va. He expects the winner to challenge face Aldo at UFC 149 on July 21 in Calgary.