For most Kiwi kids, pulling on an All Black jersey for the first time is stuff only dreams are made of.
But not for Kai Kara-France.
For as long as he can remember, New Zealand's newest UFC export has craved the bright lights of the Octagon, and fighting for his country, teammates and family on mixed martial arts’ biggest stage.
Last week, the Aucklander received the news that he had earned a call-up to the UFC in the most unique of ways.
- Hard hitting Kai Kara France's UFC journey a long time coming
- Kiwi Kai Kara-France earns UFC contract
Company president Dana White fronted a video congratulating the 25-year-old on making the big time, with Kara-France and his teammates watching the announcement at their City Kickboxing gym.
The video was organised by Kara-France's training partner, Israel Adesanya, who reportedly played a significant role in pushing White into getting a deal done.
"It's not what you know, but who you know sometimes," Kara-France told Newshub.
But the fighter known as 'Don't Blink' deserves his shot, with an impressive 12 finishes in 17 wins. Make no mistake about it, the 1.65m pocket rocket packs a punch.
Humbled by such a publicised announcement, Kara-France reflected on his eight-year journey that has led to the UFC.
"The feeling of everything you have done in your life to get to this moment, all the dedication and commitment I have put into this sport, I am just so passionate about it," Kara-France said.
"There are only five New Zealand fighters in the UFC, so to be at that level is an honour.
"The UFC is my All Blacks. I have my test jersey, now it's a matter of establishing myself and cementing my legacy.
"I always knew I wanted to be in the UFC. I had offers to fight other places, but I declined those, because I want to be where the best fighters are and challenge myself against the best."
Despite contesting his last four fights at bantamweight (61kg), Kara-France confirmed to Newshub he would fight at flyweight (57kg) in the UFC,
a division dominated by the recognised pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, Demetrious Johnson.
Kara-France said flyweight was calling out for fresh faces and he plans to make an immediate impact.
"I've been finishing fights at [bantamweight], so to fight at my natural weight class, I feel is the best chance to make a statement in the UFC and climb the rankings faster," Kara-France said.
"I bring that knockout power and finishing style to the division, which is exciting."
Kara-France's teammate, Dan 'The Hangman' Hooker, told Newshub that Kara-France had deserved this spotlight for a long time, but it's just the beginning of New Zealanders cracking the sports mecca.
"To see him get this opportunity, it's a reward for his hard work," Hooker said.
"Now the world is his oyster, now he is in the big show. Now he gets to show the world what he is truly capable of.
"We are a small country in the corner or the world, but we are breaking our way into being headliners on the big global stage.”
Kara-France is unsure when he will make his UFC debut, although he did identify Adelaide in December as a potential fixture.