As we enter 2013, there is a new sheriff of the UFC heavyweight division: Cain Velasquez.
Now a 10-fight veteran of the Octagon, Velasquez has defeated the very best that Joe Silva could put in his path, and done so in tremendous fashion.
On Saturday night, the Mexican stud out of AKA decimated Junior dos Santos in a way that no one had ever dreamed was possible. After all, "Cigano" was 9-0 in the UFC and had previously knocked out Velasquez in only 64 seconds.
The win was impressive to say the least, but how does it stack up to the other performances of Velasquez's career?
Here is a power ranking of the five best performances in the career of Cain Velasquez.
To kick off our list, we travel back to 2008 for the sophomore effort from an unknown prospect fighting out of team AKA.
Velasquez stepped into the cage against four-time UFC veteran Jake O'Brien, who held a notable win over PRIDE star Heath Herring and had only one professional loss at the time. When you consider those factors, along with the fact that O'Brien's only loss came against former champion Andrei Arlovski, it's not as if Velasquez was being fed a can as a way of getting an easy win.
With O'Brien possessing a background in collegiate wrestling, it was of no surprise when he quickly shot in for a takedown. A superior Velasquez was able to spin away and force Irish Jake onto his back.
Originally in side control, Velasquez rapidly threw punches until condemning O'Brien with a crucifix position. From that point on, it was simply a game of how many rapid-fire bombs Velasquez could throw before Mario Yamasaki could pull him off.
This was the first time that Velasquez faced a legitimate threat in the UFC and he passed this test with flying colors.
Any fan who wondered why the Bleacher Report staff was mostly predicting Velasquez to be victorious at UFC 155 needs to look no further than this fight for their answer.
One fight removed from losing his title, Velasquez showed up with something to prove at UFC 146. The man standing across the cage was Strikeforce import Antonio Silva. This was the same man who outboxed Andrei Arlovski and dropped hammerfists on Fedor Emelieanenko until he simply couldn't compete any longer.
In a complete shellacking, Velasquez cracked Silva with a big right hand before following him to the ground with nasty ground and pound. The beating was so vicious that "Bigfoot" resembled a Jigsaw victim more than someone who had just been in a fight.
This performance should strike fear in the heart of every heavyweight who ever dreams of being UFC champion.
Despite Cain Velasquez recapturing his championship in dominant fashion on Saturday night, it simply isn't the best that he has looked. After the third round, Velasquez slowed down considerably both in his movement and in his output volume.
However, that is not to say that this fight didn't highlight why he is the best heavyweight on the planet. The Mexican warrior beat dos Santos at his own game by outboxing him. He then busted the myth regarding "Cigano's" takedown defense and jiu-jitsu by controlling position and pounding away.
This win leaves only one man in the path of Velasquez: Alistair Overeem. If the champion is successful in defending his belt against "The Demolition Man," it's hard to imagine any fighter who can beat him.
The first time that Velasquez got a crack at the UFC heavyweight championship, he met two-time defending champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 121.
Lesnar was a monster who had stoppage wins over Randy Couture, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin, all champions. This was the biggest test in the career of Cain, and to call it a success would be an understatement.
Out of the gate, Lesnar came out strong. Looking to soften up the midsection of Cain, he threw a series of knees to the body before scoring a quick takedown.
Almost effortlessly, Velasquez was able to return to his feet despite his opponent being a much larger wrestler with better credentials and a historically stifling top game.
Cain was quickly able to score a takedown of his own, but Lesnar didn't fare so well in removing himself from danger. Velasquez would utilize his patented ground and pound to score a TKO victory in the final minute of the first frame.
At UFC 110, Cain Velasquez would be given the opportunity to step into a title shot. There was only one obstacle in his way. That obstacle would come in the form of PRIDE legend Antonio Nogueira.
Nogueira previously held the PRIDE heavyweight title as well as the UFC interim heavyweight championship. At the time of this contest, he was coming off of the heels of a 2009 Fight of the Year with Randy Couture and had won eight of his last 10 contests.
The winner of this fight would get a crack at the undisputed UFC heavyweight championship and both men were as hungry as can be.
After a brief period of feeling each other out, Cain floored Nogueira with a three-punch combo and followed it up with four more punches that all landed within three ticks of the clock.
Velasquez had just defeated a revered legend of the sport and it looked as if he hadn't even broken a sweat.