In March of 2005, the mixed martial arts (MMA) world was a very different place.
Andrei Arlovski was the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion, while half a world away, famed Russian "Emperor" Fedor Emelianenko was ruling the roost in PRIDE Fighting Championship.
Meanwhile, the man who would eventually defeat them both, Antonio Silva, was making his combat sports debut in a small auditorium in Essex, England, taking on the well-traveled Tengiz Tedoradze in the co main event of UKMMAC 10: "Slugfest."
It was a dream come true for the 25 year-old former car salesman.
"Bigfoot" was recruited by fellow countryman Mario Sucata, who brought the hulking Brazilian across the pond on the expectation of a five-fight deal, the first of which was a fairly tall order. Tedoradze was more experienced at 13-3 (one no contest) and a staple on the British fight circuit.
Not that you would have known, based on how things turned out on fight night.
Silva climbed through the ropes (sorry, no cage) and upon his introduction, actually hit Spanky's Little Rascals victory pose (shaking clasped hands with fingers interlocked). The crowd was not impressed, and muffled boos were topped off with nearby giggling directed toward the eager young buck.
No one was laughing at the 74-second mark of the opening frame.
That's when "Pezao" had to be peeled off an unresponsive Tedoradze, who was the victim of a Brazilian bumrush. In fact, Silva passed his guard so effortlessly prior to slamming his mitts into the fallen fighter, it was almost as if it was the Georgian's debut, instead.
Following the first-round massacre, Silva continued to bounce around the ring and at one point made a break for the fallen fighter's corner. Under the influence of adrenaline, clearly, the referee had to convince him the fight was indeed over.
Welcome to MMA, Mr. Bigfoot.
Silva would compete four more times in England, as promised, but when he graduated to K-1 the following year, a dispute with his old manager left him, by his account, without a paycheck. In addition, he was stranded overseas with his wife and baby with no money or means to return to Brazil.
That is, until the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira -- the same man who kept Anderson Silva from retiring before he signed with UFC -- gave Silva shelter and the means to return home.
In the eight years since, the former EliteXC heavyweight champion has pretty much seen and done it all, making some noise is Strikeforce before finally making it to UFC, the grandest stage in all of MMA. That's where "Bigfoot," 2-1 following his Octagon debut with knockout wins over Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem, will vie for the division title.
Standing in his way is Cain Velasquez.
The promotion's 265-pound kingpin already holds one win over the Brazilian by doing exactly what Silva does best: Taking his foe to the ground and busting him up. We'll find out if history repeats itself at UFC 160 this Saturday night (May 25, 2013) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To see more on their second go-round click here.