When Tommy Lee went down with a broken hand and was forced to withdraw from his October 3rd fight with Mark “The Machine” Hominick in Montreal not many 145 lbs fighters were stepping up to face one of the world’s best.
But when JC Pennington got the call from his coach and training partner of 5 years Rich “No Love” Clementi saying he had been asked to take on Hominick at TKO 35 there was no hesitation and the Louisiana native accepted. The fight was confirmed the next day by Pennington’s manager, Monte Cox who JC describes as “the best in the sport.”
Hominick is coming off a submission win at Affliction July 19th against top 10 fighter Savant Young. Asked if taking on the Canadian on his home turf will be the biggest fight of his career, Pennington says he “look(s) at every fight as the biggest fight of my career regardless of who it is or what show it might be. He will definitely be a fun challenge for me though and big step in my career.”
Pennington’s competitive juices began at a young age. He is one of three brothers and describes that he “has been fighting my entire life. My older brother got me into it and it’s been all over from there. 8 months into training I met Rich Clementi and he has opened up all kind of doors in the sport for me.”
The Southern influence on MMA is growing each day with named fighters like Clementi, Kyle Bradley and Tim Credeur all breaking through. Pennington wants to be next. He notes MMA in Louisiana is “getting bigger by the day. Finally all the great fighters we have in the state are starting to get noticed. Good friend and training partner Kyle Bradley is fighting Sept 17 on Ultimate Fight Night (Ed note: This interview took place prior to UFN) and Tim Credeur is getting his name out also. I have been able to fight for Elite XC and King of the Cage so my name is starting to get where I want it to be.”
His test against The Machine will be one of the biggest of his career and that fact is not lost on CJ. “He is a very skilled guy. His striking is very crisp and clean and his ground has improved greatly. I don’t look at any of it as problems as much as challenges I have to figure out how to solve.”
Pennington’s goals are to continue to fight as long as he can and fighting in TKO is just another goal he has conquered along the way. When asked to make a prediction he simply stated, “I want to say I’m bringing the victory back to Louisiana. I know he is tough and very skilled and mainly predicting a great fight.”
He has also had a lot of help along the way and wanted to “thank my friends, family, fight team, and my lovely Katie for putting up with me through the good times and bad. It’s been an awesome road and I’m not close to ending the journey. Also my sponsors Maximum Nutrition – Clementi’s Gladiators Academy – The Body Shop Tattoos - Bayouland Surf – and Competitive Mindset Enhancement.”
Pennington will have an opportunity to knock off one of the best in the world October 3rd at TKO 35. But for him, Hominick is simply another challenge that needs to be solved.