It's going to be tough to deny Marlon Moraes a title shot after his performance on Friday night in Utica.
After calling for a matchup against Jimmie Rivera for several months, Moraes finally got his shot against the New Jersey native in the main event in New York.
Since arriving from World Series of Fighting, Moraes suffered only one setback in a split decision against Raphael Assuncao in his debut but then bounced back with a win over John Dodson and a knockout of the year candidate against Aljamain Sterling.
Well Moraes may have another 'knockout of the year' candidate on his resume after what unfolded with Rivera.
Following a tense faceoff where the fighters refused to touch gloves, Moraes and Rivera both charged to the center of the Octagon looking to take control right away.
There was a brief feeling out period with each fighter gauging distance and then Moraes uncorked a hellish head kick that bounced off of Rivera's head, sending him crashing to the mat.
Moraes followed up with some rapid-fire punches as the referee saw enough and called a stop to the contest at just 33 seconds into the opening round.
With three straight wins including two consecutive jaw-dropping knockouts, Moraes now believes he's ready to challenge for UFC gold.
"I'm a mixed martial artist. If you think I'm going to kick you, I'm going to take you down. If you think I'm going to take you down, I'm going to knock you out. I'm ready," Moraes shouted after his win.
"I want the title. I want to fight for the UFC bantamweight title. That's it."
Considering his blistering finishes in his past two fights and the current crop of contenders at 135-pounds, it's going to be tough to deny Moraes and he'll undoubtedly keep a close eye on the upcoming title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt at UFC 227 in August.