TORONTO -- One young, athletic champion is at the center of the storm as the UFC takes over the city for its biggest show ever, and the other young, athletic champion is nearly forgotten.
This is Georges St. Pierre
's world, and wherever you turn, there is something there to remind you of it. There are billboards and commercials, he's on television and in the newspapers. And when you drive along some streets near the busy Gardiner Expressway, his picture graces UFC 129
banners high atop streetlights.
Close by but seemingly a world away is Jose Aldo
, the dynamic Brazilian phenom who also happens to be the UFC featherweight champion and a consensus top five pound-for-pound fighter. In any other MMA universe, someone of that status and caliber couldn't possibly go unnoticed and unrecognized, but earlier this week, Aldo sat in a press conference for 40 minutes until fielding his first question.
So what gives? Is GSP's shadow just that all-encompassing that it swallows everything in its path, even in a city of millions? Did Aldo's recent injury simply knock him out of the public consciousness? Or is he just too quiet for his own good?
Aldo for his part, said he doesn't care about the lack of attention, even though it's a spotlight that he deserves. He's 18-1, he's won 11 straight fights, and a win over Mark Hominick
on Saturday would give him four title defenses, all at the ripe old age of 24.
"I do not mind, I see no problems in people who are not paying attention to me," he said through his interpreter. "The important thing is that I'll be in there and I will show who I am."
Further eclipsing Aldo is his opponent, who grew up in Thamesford, Ontario, about 100 miles away from Toronto, clearly making him the hometown favorite for the mostly Canadian crowd, and stealing away attention from the Canadian press contingent. Hominick doesn't have quite the MMA resume as Aldo, but at 20-8, he's captured seven of his last eight fights. In his most recent -- and with a title shot on the line -- Hominick knocked out George Roop in just 88 seconds.
All of that means Hominick will have a lot of momentum and a lot of fans on his side on Saturday, but Aldo remains unconcerned.
"It's not a problem at all," he said. "I fought Urijah [Faber] in his hometown and the way I go into a fight, I take the energy out of my opponent, the local guy. I feel I can do just as good."
Most people expect the fight to remain a striking battle for most of the duration. Aldo said he believes he's got the stronger Muay Thai while Hominick has the edge in boxing. The style matchup excites Aldo, who has never shown a willingness to back up in a fight, even when he's faced power punchers like Mike Brown. Hominick, too, has full confidence in what he can do on his feet. The first man that blinks could determine the winner and loser.
"Both Mark and I are strikers and we look forward and attack," Aldo said. "We'll each do our own game, but whoever has a softer head will fall."
Aldo, it seems, has barely smiled this week. Even among consummate professionals like St. Pierre, Jake Shields and Randy Couture, he has come across as the most intense, as though he is all business. It has been seven months since his last fight, and while the spotlight might not be his this week, you get the feeling that on Saturday night, he plans to seize it.