When TJ Dillashaw finished Renan Barao in the fifth round of their first fight, in May 2014 at UFC 173, he completed one of the best performances in the history of championship bouts in the UFC.
Dillashaw thrashed Barao over five rounds, and that was after he walked into the fight as a decided underdog while facing a Brazilian champion who hadn't lost in nine years. The only other fighters who could boast that kind of resume were people like Fedor Emelianenko and Anderson Silva.
And Dillashaw dismantled him for 20-plus minutes before putting an exclamation mark on his performance with a fifth-round finish.
More from FoxSports
On Saturday night in Chicago, as part of the FOX UFC Fight Night card, Dillashaw will look to do it all over again as he faces Barao in a rematch that's nearly a year in the making. Dillashaw is predicting another dominant win, but he's not going to try to outdo his last performance because that's just setting himself up for failure.
"You don't try. That's way too much pressure to go out there and try to top a perfect performance," Dillashaw told FOX Sports. "I'm just going out there to win, however I do it. Whether I flash knock him out this time, catch him in a submission, whatever it is. I know I'm going to win, it's just a matter of how I do it.
"All that matters is just win. If it turns out to be something pretty, that's awesome. I try to be an entertaining fighter, but most importantly is getting the victory."
Dillashaw was supremely confident the last time he faced Barao and nothing has changed since they first met in 2014. If anything, Dillashaw actually believes that he's surpassed Barao in even more ways, and he'll show that on Saturday night.
On the flipside, Dillashaw knows this is Barao's last chance at him.
Rarely, if ever, will the UFC give a fighter a third fight against anybody in the promotion after losing to them twice previously. Dillashaw is more than happy to make Barao disappear from title contention and if everything goes well this weekend, he believes he might even bounce the Brazilian from the entire bantamweight division.
"The way I see it, I'm going to beat him and he's going to have to move up a weight class," Dillashaw said. "Watching his last fight, I wasn't very impressed with his performance against (Mitch) Gagnon and I think he actually looked worse. I don't know if it's the mental stuff getting to him or cutting too much weight, but I'm going to show that I'm a little too fast for him and he's a little too slow and he'll move up another weight class. That's just my opinion."
Barao was able to win his last fight against Gagnon in December 2014 and while he put away the Canadian by submission in the third round, he didn't perform with the same kind of ruthless aggression that got him noticed as one of the best mixed martial artists on the planet. At moments, Barao looked flat and ineffective and that was against a fighter not even sniffing the top-10 rankings at the time.
Dillashaw can't help but wonder if maybe Barao's body is finally rejecting the cut to 135 pounds or if the savage beating he took in their fight had long-term psychological effects.
It's actually not uncommon for a bad loss to linger for any athlete, but maybe even more so for someone of Barao's caliber, who had run roughshod over the entire division until he met Dillashaw last year.
"I definitely think that could be a reality. I mean I hope so. Not to be a jerk about him and his future, but for me in my next fight, I sure hope it's going to be in his head," Dillashaw said. "I'm going to pick up right where I left off the last time and make him remember what happened. I think it's going to draw back some nightmares for him right away."
Breaking Barao for a second time will certainly establish Dillashaw as the reigning and defending king at 135 pounds, and then he's moving on to bigger and better things.
On the day he decided to fight for the first time, Dillashaw laid out a plan where he would go from a 0-0 rookie all the way to becoming a UFC champion. Now that he's reached that goal it's time to set a new standard, and the path there starts with his fight against Barao on Saturday night in Chicago.
"When you get involved in the sport you set the highest goal possible. For me it was becoming the UFC champion. That was the top, ultimate goal. You write it on the wall, you think about it in the morning, you have it on your mind during training -- you think about it every single day. Now that I've reached that goal it's time to set new ones," Dillashaw said.
"It's time for me to look at that pound-for-pound list and be the best fighter in the world. Not only my weight class but in the world. I set goals as high as possible and there's no reason I couldn't achieve it. The goal is to be champion until I retire."
Don't miss a minute of FOX UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Barao airing live on Saturday night at 8pm on FOX with our viewing and schedule guide.