Brazilian Charlies Oliveira completed a 28-fight, 11-year journey to UFC gold on Sunday with a stunning comeback win over Michael Chandler in Texas.
The UFC 262 main event saw the two lightweights compete for the vacated title previously held by the now-retired Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Oliveira entered the bout on an eight-fight win streak, which included victories over former interim champion Tony Ferguson, perennial contender Kevin Lee, and UFC veterans Jim Miller and Clay Guida.
His American opponent knocked out Kiwi Dan Hooker in his UFC debut in January, after a storied career with Bellator MMA where he reigned as lightweight champion three times in a decade-long stint.
And it was Chandler who dominated the opening round, hurting 'Da Bronx' with heavy strikes after surviving an early grappling exchange with the UFC's all-time leading submissions artist.
Oliveira remained calm, and managed to stifle Chandler's attack, although he staggered to his corner at the end of the round.
The 35-year-old Missouri native looked to pressure Oliveira immediately as the second round began, but was clipped with a beautiful left hook that sent Chandler to the canvas.
Chandler got back to his feet, but he couldn't withstand a barrage of punches from the Brazilian and referee Dan Miragilotta stepped in to stop the fight.
Oliveira jumped out of the Octagon to celebrate with his team, and was clearly overcome with emotion after such a long road to achieving his professional dreams.
"I told you I was going to knock him out and I came and knocked him out,” Oliveira said in his post-fight interview.
"I proved to everybody I’m the lion of lions.
“Michael said I couldn’t take the pressure. Then he hit, hit, hit, and I’m still here.
"Michael, you’re a great champion ... but today was my day."
Oliveira will defend his newly won title later in the year against the winner of the upcoming rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirer.
Earlier, American Tony Ferguson fell to his third straight loss in a year, succumbing via decision against rising star Beneil Dariush.
The Iranian-born American dominated Ferguson on the ground in a near-flawless three-round performance for his seventh-straight win and leap into the hunt for a title shot.