Michael Bisping may have scored the title shot that has eluded him throughout his whole career after out-pointing the legendary Anderson Silva at London's O2 Arena.
The 36-year-old Clitheroe fighter, who has seen Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen stand in his way in the past, was given the decision after five exhilarating rounds to retain his unbeaten record in the UK.
Brazilian opponent Silva, who holds the longest title streak in UFC history, which ended in 2013 after 2,457 days at the top, believed he'd done enough.
But it was a bloodied Bisping, who showed no signs of arachnophobia, that was given the nod by 48-47 to claim an emotional triumph over the 'Spider' following a performance brimming with tenacity and endurance.
After a tentative start to the contest, remedied by an explosive final 10 seconds, Bisping showed that he may be deserving of a crack at either Luke Rockhold or Chris Weidman when flooring the 40-year-old jiu-jitsu specialist with a solid right hand.
With Silva stunned on the deck, Bisping weighed in with the ground and pound but failed to inflict the punishment to force the stoppage.
However, after losing his gum shield, the home fighter switched off momentarily, gesturing to the official, and Silva capitalised with a savage knee to the head which wiped Bisping out.
Many inside the arena thought that was game over, even Silva vaulted on to the wall of the Octagon fully believing that he'd backed up his win over Nick Diaz as Bisping lay dazed on the perimeter.
The fight, though, went on. Bisping, who had sustained a nasty cut beneath his left eye, dug deep and pressed Silva against the cage with a knee before unloading a combination of blows.
Bisping was caught with a kick moments later, responded by rocking Silva with a right, but it was the Brazilian that finished the penultimate round stronger courtesy of a thunderous uppercut and a crushing knee.
The noise levels were cranked up for the final round and both fighters went hell for leather in search of victory.
Bisping was knocked off balance by the sole of Silva's left foot, he was caught by another knee in the follow up and then a heavy right later in the final stanza.
But Bisping's heart and desire pulled him through as he landed the biggest victory of his tenure back on British soil.