It was the moment we had all been waiting for.
After years on the international circuit, one of the most decorated strikers in the history of combat sports, Alistair Overeem, was finally going to make his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut, joining a stacked 265-pound division that had never been deeper.
Especially after this.
While Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez were battling for the right to be called champion, former division kingpin, Frank Mir, was coming off three straight wins, including a violent submission victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 140 in Dec. 2011.
Then there was Brock Lesnar.
The former professional wrestler had somehow managed to defy the odds and capture the most prestigious title in mixed martial arts (MMA); however, his inability to absorb punishment -- coupled with a painful bout of diverticulitis -- led to his demise at the hands of Velasquez.
And he wanted revenge.
Despite coughing up his title at UFC 121, Lesnar was still the most decorated wrestler in the heavyweight division, boasting an NCAA Division-1 national championship, which complemented his god-given ability to hit like a runaway cement truck.
But to begin his climb anew, he was forced to step over a fighter who was just as big ... and just as mythical.
Overeem was booked to fight Lesnar in the main event of UFC 141, which took place back on Dec. 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. "Demolition Man" was imported from the Strikeforce roster (after stubbing his toe) and given what was rightfully his.
A place atop the promotion's annual year-end extravaganza.
In addition to holding the Strikeforce heavyweight championship, Overeem was also the DREAM heavyweight champion and captured the K-1 World Grand Prix title in 2010, scoring wins over Ben Edwards, Tyrone Spong, Gokhan Saki and Peter Aerts.
In addition, "The Reem" was the winner of 10 straight MMA fights.
But how he would fare in the deep waters of the UFC's heavyweight class was unknown. So too, would be his ability to withstand Lesnar's blast double-leg takedown. While still relatively new to the sport, Shane Carwin learned the hard way what can happen when you end upon your back.
Not surprisingly, Lesnar opened at -110 in the sportsbooks.
Regrettably, their headliner inside a packed house at MGM Grand Garden Arena was not as close as the betting line had suggested. Lesnar spent the better part of three minutes in fear of getting tagged, and failed sensationally on his one and only takedown attempt.
Overeem, with his hands at his side, barely broke a sweat en route to a technical knockout victory.
As luck would have it, his career would crash and burn in the months following the Lesnar fight. Overeem would soon find himself embroiled in a lawsuit with his former managers, as well as a charge for misdemeanor battery after "making contact" with a woman inside a "Sin City" casino.
And then came the suspension for testosterone.
That doesn't even take into account what transpired inside the cage. When Overeem finally did get cleared to fight, he got KTFO by Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, then swallowed a Hawaiian front kick from Travis Browne to log his second consecutive loss.
What surely seemed like the next heavyweight title contender is a fighter who is now facing unemployment.
How the mighty have fallen.
But all hope is not lost. Overeem can get back on his horse this Saturday night (Feb. 1, 2014) when he goes to war against former champion Frank Mir on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card of UFC 169: "Barao vs. Faber 2," which takes place inside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
If not, there's always that Lesnar rematch in WWE.