Israel Adesanya arrived on the UFC scene in early 2018 without a loss to his name and a whole lot of hype.
Unbeaten in 11 fights with as many knockouts, Adesanya had been tipped by many as a future star of the company - though some might not have expected him to rise so quickly.
The 29-year-old fought four times in the UFC in 2018, claiming two more knockout victories and two by decision. In three of the four bouts, he received a performance bonus - ending the year ranked No.6 in the middleweight rankings.
Speaking to ESPN's Ariel Helwani about his rise in 2018, Adesanya said there was nothing surprising about what he achieved in the year.
"I've been blowing up for a long time, you guys just never knew about me," Adesanya said. "Now I'm blowing up on another level."
The Kiwi has become known as a character UFC fans either love or love to hate due to his brash, confident demeanour. Never one to hold back or censor himself, Adesanya talks a big game and knows not everyone is going to like it.
"I'm not trying to be anyone's hero, anyone's guru, anyone's role model, I'm just doing me."
It wasn't just Adesanya whose star rose in 2018. Auckland's City Kickboxing, where Adesanya fights out of, was the No.2 ranked UFC fight camp and team globally. The stable, which includes lightweight contender Dan Hooker, featherweight Shane Young and flyweight Kai Kara France, combined for nine wins and just one loss across 2018.
The stable was set to kick off 2019 with a flourish too, with Adesanya, Young and Kara France signed on to fight at UFC 234 in Melbourne on February 10.
Adesanya will meet former middleweight champion Anderson Silva in the co-main event. Silva was one the dominant force in the division, but the Kiwi hinted that the event in Melbourne would signal a changing of the guard.
"After this fight, it's going to be bigger than all the other s*** I've done combined.
"He's the old avatar, I'm the new avatar. I'm taking over"