Tim Kennedy scored the most significant finish of his career at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 as he crushed Brazilian challenger Rafael Natal with a leaping left hook and earned the first-round knockout.
For Kennedy, the win could not have come on a more perfect stage.
An active serviceman in the United States Army, Kennedy blasted Natal in front of a rowdy and animated audience of military comrades, garnering chants of "USA! USA! USA!" in the process.
Kennedy was, as expected, very emotional in his post-fight interview, as he reiterated the fact that the members of the audience accepted a much tougher job than he.
Saying he felt a bit cowardly for making money fighting inside the cage rather than in the field of real combat, Kennedy showered his peers with praise and soaked up the biggest win of his professional career to date.
"The guys out there—they have the hardest job in the world, one that's infinitely harder than my job," Kennedy told Ariel Helwani in a post-fight interview. "I left that job. I left a hard job to do an easy job, a job that I get paid a lot more than I did to do out there."
Relive the American's impressive knockout in the video above.
Taking a page out of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's playbook, Kennedy floored Natal with a lunging left hook before swarming with a vicious barrage of follow-up ground-and-pound.
Natal was done, and referee Herb Dean was forced to intervene and save Kennedy's fallen adversary from further damage.
This victory marks a step forward for Kennedy, and one can expect a tangle with a high-profile middleweight in his next outing.
The UFC's middleweight division is deeper than ever, and reasonable opponents include top-10 fighters like Michael Bisping, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, Tim Boetsch, Mark Munoz and Francis Carmont.
Who would you like to see Kennedy face?
Sound off, and we'll discuss his future in the 185-pound division.