With two fights left on their schedule for the 2019 season, the City Kickboxing stable is on the brink of ending the year as the UFC's most successful stable.
With a combined 10-0 record in UFC bouts this year, flyweight Kai Kara-France and featherweight Alexander Volkanovski will look to cap off an unbeaten year at UFC 245 in Las Vegas on Sunday (NZ time).
For City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman, just being in the conversation for the best UFC stable in the world was enough to make him pinch himself.
• Premium - MMA: UFC confirms return to New Zealand with 2020 fight night
• Premium - MMA: UFC to return to New Zealand in early 2020 with third UFC Auckland event
• UFC fighter Alistair Overeem's lip explodes in brutal defeat to Jairzinho Rozenstruik
• Premium - UFC Auckland: Former UFC Strawweight title challenger to fight in Auckland
"It's somewhere I thought we could probably get, I had an inkling, but an inkling is nothing to bet the house on. That's the rewarding part … that we got to where I thought we could and I never really knew for sure that we would get here."
Kara-France, the UFC's No 6 ranked flyweight, takes on Brandon Moreno, ranked No 5, on Sunday, before Volkanovski fights Max Holloway for the featherweight title. For both fighters, they go to Vegas facing the biggest test of their careers.
The same can be said for Bareman, who was quick to admit Holloway was the most difficult opponent he has ever had to plan for.
"Robert Whittaker, Anderson Silva, Edson Barboza, whoever's name you throw out, this is the most difficult opponent I've ever had to strategise for and come up with tactics against."
Holloway and Volkanovksi will square off in the co-main event on Sunday in what is expected to be an intense encounter. The Kiwi-trained Volkanovski challenges for the title with a 20-1 record and on a 17-fight winning streak, and Holloway is unbeaten in his last 14 fights in the division.
"I know what Alex is capable of. I've trained with him, I've felt it myself, I've seen what he's done to some of the athletes in here and I know him well – I've cornered him quite a few times – and it just gives me confidence that he can deal with the problems that Max poses."
Among the problems Holloway causes opponents, fatigue is the most devastating. The Hawaiian has a massive cardio base and works a near non-stop tempo on offence, picking his opponents apart with his jab before laying into lengthy combinations in the late rounds.
However, Volkanovski's power is a rarity in the featherweight division and his abilities to grapple and set up his attack both on his feet and on the ground make him a very dangerous opponent.
"Any fighter that doesn't get tired, they're always going to be the most difficult ones to prepare for. Think of all the fighters that are tremendously difficult to deal with. They all have massive cardio bases; they seem to never get tired.
"I'm lucky – this is an athlete who has just as good cardio if not better than Max. So immediately I don't have to worry about that."
For Bareman, leading his fighters onto the biggest stage in the sport is a dream come true. Two months removed from leading Israel Adesanya to the middleweight title, Bareman has the chance to lead another one of his fighters to the same heights.
"I just got out of that frying pan and was relieved to get out of it, now I'm stuck back in it. I always knew I was going to come back into it and although I love to be in it, it can be a very stressful frying pan to be in.
"Israel's fight finished and I was just like 'OK, Alex's fight is next.' I'll get a little bit of relief after this fight, but then I've got to turn around for Dan Hooker's fight (at UFC Auckland in February). But such is life; this is what I want to do with my life so I'm never going to complain about it. From one pressure cooker into the next; I love it, so there are no complaints."