Michael Bisping waited 10 years and 26 fights for the chance to win a UFC title.
When he finally got it, Bisping stunned Luke Rockhold and the mixed martial arts world.
Bisping won the UFC middleweight championship with a first-round knockout of Rockhold on Saturday night, earning his first title belt at UFC 199.
Bisping (30-7) spectacularly won the UFC 185-pound title just over two weeks after accepting the bout as an injury replacement for former champion Chris Weidman.
Bisping abruptly knocked down Rockhold midway through the round with a left hand to the jaw of the backpedaling champion. Rockhold (15-3) bounced back up and engaged Bisping, who knocked him down for good with another left hand, finishing it with 1:24 left in the round.
Bisping, an Englishman who lives in Orange County, had never fought for a title in a decade with the UFC.
"This was my dream. Nobody was taking this away from me," Bisping said. "Two weeks? Two days, two hours, two minutes. I'll fight anybody on a moment's notice."
But the crowd at the historic Forum south of downtown Los Angeles was left in disbelief by the main-event heroics of Bisping, who is having a jaw-dropping year after defeating longtime UFC champion Anderson Silva in February.
"Apart from my children and my wife, this is the greatest day of my life," Bisping said.
The 37-year-old Bisping was on set in Toronto — playing a villain in a new Vin Diesel movie — when he got the call last month to replace Weidman, who had to drop out of his rematch due to a neck injury.
Bisping immediately began trading insults with Rockhold, who won his title in December with a fourth-round stoppage of Weidman. Although Bisping acknowledged he was an underdog, the loquacious brawler claimed he had learned enough to shock the world while losing to Rockhold by second-round submission 19 months ago in Sydney.
Turns out it wasn't just talk from Bisping, who couldn't contain his emotions when the title belt was wrapped around his waist.
Rockhold, who acknowledged training with a knee injury for this fight, took just his second loss in 16 bouts since 2007. He didn't argue with referee John McCarthy's stoppage after Bisping's final barrage of punches left him motionless with his back to the cage.
"I should have fought my fight instead of messing around with him," Rockhold said.