The top two prospects at light heavyweight stepped into the cage at UFC 126, the biggest fight of their careers just seconds away from starting.
How would Jon "Bones" Jones and Ryan "Darth" Bader handle the pressure? The hype? The other fighter?
Those were the FAQ leading into the most anticipated undercard bout at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Which prospect answered those questions sufficiently would emerge as a true and immediate title contender.
Welcome to the top 5 contender's circle, Jon Jones.
Midway through the second round, Jones got Bader to the ground. He worked the and won by submission via guillotine choke with 40 seconds left in Round 2.
"I feel like it's my time, and I'm hungry," Jones said. "I want it."
After the impressive victory, Joe Rogan broke some impressive news during the in-ring interview. After acknowledging that Rashad Evans, Jones' teammate at Greg Jackson MMA, blew out his knee and can't fight for the title at UFC 128 in New Jersey in March, Rogan said the UFC wants to give that shot to Jones.
Jones (12-1) dropped to his knees in shock.
"I'm going for the world title, let's do it!" Jones screamed.
Jones will fight Rua for his light heavyweight title at The Prudential Center in Newark.
Right from the start, Bader (13-1) couldn't get much offense going. Jones got a takedown early in first round, but Bader, the Season 8 winner of "The Ultimate Fighter," fell to the ground with a guillotine choke attempt. Jones had side control and eventually worked toward a north-south choke. After a minute or so, Bader got back to his feet. He managed to throw some punches in the rest of the fight, but Jones controlled the pace the entire way.