Though not a contender in the talent-rich pool of 145-pounds, Roop is exciting none the less. After dropping down to the featherweight division after his brief stint as a lightweight in the UFC, Roop was competitive in the World Extreme Cagefighting promotion, earning “Fight of the Night” when he battled former title challenger Leonard Garcia. Though a point deduction given to George for a low blow inevitably cost him a win over the “Bad Boy” who went to a split-draw with the Team Tompkins fighter, he followed up the gritty performance with a vicious head-kick knockout over fan favorite Chan Sung Jung, aka “The Korean Zombie”.
Now following the WEC-UFC merger of the lighter weight classes, Roop finds himself in a vicarious position. He’s either going to be the stepping stone that Mark needs in order to secure a title shot against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, or he’s going to cause an upset that will shoot him up the ranks.
“Of course, I’ve heard the rumors. It’s a big deal, and I think Mark deserves it if he gets past me. But that’s a big if”, said Roop who spoke to MMAJunkie.com about his upcoming bout.
“I don’t plan on losing this fight. It’d be nice for me to fight Jose Aldo, as well. We’ll see how Jan. 22 plays out.”
UFC President Dana White recently indicated that should Hominick get past Roop at “UFC Fight for the Troops 2″ this Saturday, that the Canadian will be next in line for a shot at the promotion’s 145-pound champion in Aldo, who is tentatively scheduled for a return this April for UFC 129.
While Hominick has certainly faced his fair share of adversity inside the cage, having fought the likes of Yves Edwards, Leonard Garcia among others, Roop suggests that his road back to the UFC has been equally as tough and that Mark should earn the title shot deservedly “if” he can defeat Roop.
“I don’t take it too much as disrespect,” said George. “I understand he’s the No. 1 contender, and if he can get past me – (and that’s) a big ‘can’ with a question mark on it – I do think he deserves it. But if you look at the caliber of fighters I’ve been fighting – (former champ) Eddie Wineland, (Leonard) Garcia on a week-and-a-half’s notice, and Chan Sung Jung, who (supposedly) couldn’t be knocked out – I fought top-caliber guys, and I step up and take fights.”
The event takes place this Saturday in Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas before a ruckus crowd full of our country’s finest soldiers in the remote location–the event will air live on Spike TV.
So, MMA peeps, what do you think of Roop’s comments? Is he a caliber opponent that would propel anyone to a title shot, despite being 1-1-1 in his last three fights? Can Roop defeat the boxing savvy Hominick? Sound off in the comment section below.