At UFC 116, Brock Lesnar submitted the previously undefeated Shane Carwin in a tough battle that was hard fought from the bell.
Lesnar manned through a couple of Carwin's tough shots to end up cradled in the fetal position, a maneuver Lesnar himself has made many of his opponents resort to in the past.
Now, though, the man who was once the most hated fighter in the UFC has made a fan of everyone as he weathered through untested waters, submissively hung on for dear life and came back victorious.
This fight with Carwin was something representative of Lesnar's battle with diverticulitis. Here a massive, once seemingly unstoppable force of a man was thought to be the unbeatable archetype that all heavyweights sought to dethrone.
Then along came Carwin.
Carwin landed one of his signature uppercuts to Lesnar, and probably the only reason he was able to man through Carwin's offense at all was due to his horse-like stature and indomitable will.
Lesnar pulled what was representative of Ali's rope-a-dope, although to what extent this was intentional is uncertain and practically futile as this was more than likely out of reaction than strategy.
Still though, Carwin gassed, and not only did Lesnar break a record by lasting past round 1 with Carwin, he came back to take Carwin down, mount him and transition to side control to finish the fight with a beautiful arm triangle.
Merely one year ago, Brock Lesnar's doppelgänger infiltrated the Octagon in a pure demolition of Frank Mir. Lesnar dominated Mir in the fight and pursued a battle of ego after the match was finished.
Now, though, after spending this past year looking death squarely in the face, Lesnar deserves this hard fought victory, one which he may not have survived had he not been so severely humbled by illness.
Lesnar was quick to thank his family, friends and God after his victory, and he sent a message to all UFC fans everywhere: this victory was not about him.
A year ago, one might have never thought it possible that all fighters could learn a big lesson from Lesnar, no matter how dominant they are. Yet the lesson persists: in order to overcome true adversity, one must first overcome himself.
Well, perhaps with all this evolution of the martial arts going on in MMA, the lessons rather than the techniques have persisted.
Tonight, Lesnar showed us how a true champion accepts a victory, and there's no doubt that he earned it by defeating Carwin.
One thing seems sure: these two will meet again some day, and hopefully it will be as good a battle as it was at UFC 116. Lesnar clearly proved to be the better man, though judging from the first round, Carwin can make even the biggest guys cower.
Being that Lesnar has fought through life-threatening illness and a barrage of punches from Carwin, who is probably the hardest hitting man the UFC has ever seen, he undeniably deserves to retain the championship belt and the title of heavyweight champion of the world.
Congratulations, Brock Lesnar. Fans everywhere look forward to seeing more of you in the future.