12/12/2012 06:29 EST | Updated 02/11/2013 05:12 EST

Canadian featherweight Mark Hominick reflects on title shot and time in the cage

TORONTO - In the end, Mark (The Machine) Hominick couldn't meet his own high standards.

The 30-year-old featherweight from Thamesford, Ont., announced his retirement as a pro MMA fighter via Fuel TV's "UFC Tonight" on Tuesday night.

"I think it's the right move, at the right time," Hominick said in an interview Wednesday.

"I think I belong at the top of the food chain in the featherweight division," he added. "I think I belong with the Jose Aldos (the UFC champion), in that echelon of fighter. And if I'm not competing and winning at that level, then I think it's time for me to move on with my career."

And with a second daughter just weeks away, Hominick says he can no longer commit to the kind of intense training needed. It's a sacrifice he can no longer make to his family.

"Mark is a perfectionist," said UFC lightweight Sam (Hands of Stone) Stout, a longtime friend and business/training partner.

"He wants to compete. If he's going to do it, he wants to do it right," he added. "At this point, between his family and his training, it feels like he's spreading himself a little too thin."

In recent times, Hominick (20-12) has been competitive but has not won. The man whose nickname came from relentless training and ability to finish fights couldn't do either.

He retires on the back of four defeats — a run that started with a memorable loss to Aldo at UFC 129 in April 2011 in Toronto.

Hominick, who came back from the brink to give the champion an anxious final round, calls it his "career-defining moment."

"In that fight I don't think it mattered really about winning or losing, just for what I showed in that cage," he said. "It really illustrated who I was as a fighter and as a person as well."

Most recently, he lost a decision to Pablo (The Scarecrow) Garza at UFC 154 in Montreal last month.

The losses are only part of the story, however.

Hominick won a legion of fans for his defiant co-main event with Aldo at the Rogers Centre before 55,724. Aldo won the first four rounds, raising a hematoma on Hominick's forehead that was the size of a muffin.

Other fighters may have mailed in the final round. Hominick rallied to win it, making the 145-pound Brazilian look human for the first time in a long time.

"It was awesome. Loved it,'' tweeted UFC president Dana White.

Said Aldo: "He's a hell of a fighter."

Hominick made a point of thanking referee (Big) John McCarthy for allowing the fight to continue.

On Wednesday, McCarthy took time to return the favour.

"One of the classiest fighters ever," McCarthy tweeted. "I loved watching Mark fight, he hardly ever took a step backwards."

Hominick's daughter Reaya arrived two weeks after the Aldo fight. He used some of his $129,000 fight of the night bonus to top up her education fund. He also pared down his mortgage and bought himself a quad ATV.

Hominick was still feeling the adrenalin rush seven months later when he faced Chan Sung Jung, aka The Korean Zombie, at UFC 140 in Toronto.

The Canadian came out swinging and missed. The Korean Zombie didn't and knocked out Hominick in 6.2 seconds.

Hominick had plenty on his mind, however. It was the first fight since the death of his longtime friend and coach Shawn Tompkins.

Next time out, he lost a split decision to Eddie (The Filipino) Yagin at UFC 145.

Against Garza, the five-foot-eight Hominick was giving up five inches. But he hurt Garza in the first round before Garza carved open his face below the left eye.

"Great 1st round!!!!!!," tweeted White.

Garza controlled Hominick on the ground the rest of the way.

Hominick said he felt "100 per cent" going into the fight. But the result didn't reflect it.

"I think things in life happen for a reason," said Hominick. "By not finishing him in that first round maybe was a sign that it's time, that that was it."

The decision to retire came after the fight. He told his cornerman Jeff Curran: "That was the last one, that was my last fight."

"And I don't think you're going to be more honest with yourself than in the heat of the fight, in the heat of the battle. That was before the arm was even raised.

"So I think that was the time I realized, OK, I know how much I've given to this sport and the effort I've made to get to that point. I think it's time to make that effort on the next step."

Prior to his losing streak, Hominick rattled off five straight wins in the WEC and UFC to earn the title shot.

He made a memorable debut in the UFC in 2006, upsetting veteran lightweight Yves Edwards at UFC 58 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

"I remember watching this on TV and all of sudden I'm, here and I'm fighting on the pay-per-view," he recalled.

Hominick, who co-owns the Adrenaline Training Center in nearby London with fellow fighters Stout and Chris Horodecki, says MMA and the UFC will always be part of his life.

"This is my passion, this is what drives me every day," he said.

He intends to keep training.

"There's no part of me that's leaving this sport. I'm just leaving the competition end of it.

Hominick expects to meet with the UFC early in 2013 to see if there is a good match between the two. With a degree in business and administration, he is also open to exploring other opportunities.