Russian standout Khabib Nurmagomedov just completed his biggest challenge in his UFC career, passing with flying colors.
Although his perfect record warrants at least a little suspicion, that doesn't change the fact that Nurmagomedov now has a solid 3-0 run in the UFC against some pretty strong competition.
But can "The Eagle" soar up to title contention?
That remains to be seen, although his 19-0 MMA career record (the longest active winning streak in the sport) is looking better than ever due to his win over seasoned veteran Thiago Tavares.
In a show of technical mastery and razor-sharp killer instinct, Nurmagomedov and Tavares baited each other on the feet, throwing punches like baseball pitches.
Is Nurmy ready for top-10 fighters?
But eventually, Tavares got caught.
All it took was one clean shot for Nurmagomedov to floor Tavares, with the Russian racing right into side control and unleashing a torrent of elbows all over the side of the Brazilian's face.
Had referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in any later (and he was pretty late), Tavares would probably have left the Octagon unable to recognize basic shapes.
But more importantly, Nurmagomedov has proven that he belongs in the UFC lightweight division despite his questionable win over Gleison Tibau.
Now, all he needs is an opponent in the top 10 at 155 pounds.
We've seen what Nurmagomedov can do against strong but flawed veterans like Tavares and Tibau, as well as prospects like Kamal Shalorus. Now we need to see how he'll fare against guys like Jim Miller, Pat Healy or maybe even the eventual winner of T.J. Grant vs. Matt Wiman.