Every fighter in the UFC, whether champion, legend or debutant, has to start somewhere. That somewhere usually isn’t the big show. Occasionally, multiple future stars end up gathered on a single regional card. At the time, this card may not seem significant, but years down the road, we can look back in hindsight and marvel at how stacked that event turned out to be. That’s exactly what we’ll do in this series, called History Lessons.

So, let’s jump in the time machine and travel back. The date was Feb. 4, 2011, and the location was the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. It was time for Ring of Combat XXXIV.

It doesn’t always take a leap back in time to find a card with a great deal of significance. Ring of Combat XXXIV took place just three years ago, but its lineup featured five fighters who have since gone on to grace the UFC’s Octagon. The event featured four title bouts, but in terms of UFC significance, it’s a non-title fight that grabs the most attention.

Costa Philippou was a 6-1 prospect at the time, and he was already a longtime veteran of the Ring of Combat promotion. He already had four wins via strikes and a submission victory on his record by the time he stepped into the cage on that February evening.

His opponent that night was a man who had fought in title bouts in his previous two appearances for Ring of Combat. That man was Uriah Hall. Hall had captured the promotion’s middleweight championship at Ring of Combat XXX when he punched Roger Carroll into submission. In his first defense at Ring of Combat XXXI, Hall ran into future UFC middleweight kingpin Chris Weidman, and so ended the title reign of Hall. He suffered a first-round TKO loss to Weidman and needed to rebound with a win against Philippou, who had also held the Ring of Combat championship earlier in his career.

In what may be one of the oddest starts to a fight in the history of the sport, referee Dan Miragliotta was forced to delay the opening round so that Philippou could leave the cage and change into a different set of fight trunks. Upon his return to the cage, the fight began.

The two men spent the first two four-minute rounds primarily on their feet, where the contest remained even. Philippou scored a takedown near the end of each stanza, which possibly gave him the two rounds. The third stanza saw Hall shoot for a takedown early. On the ground, Hall was able to maintain top position and remain just active enough to avoid a stand up. It wouldn’t be enough for Hall, however, as Philippou’s takedowns and striking attack in the first two rounds was sufficient in convincing two of the judges to score the bout in his favor. The remaining judge scored the contest a 29-29 draw.

It was Philippou’s last fight before signing with the UFC. He made his Octagon debut just over a month later against fellow ROC veteran Nick Catone. The Serra-Longo product dropped a unanimous decision to Catone, but bounced back with a five-fight winning streak that put him in the running for a title bid in the UFC. Those hopes were erased when Philippou met Francis Carmont in at UFC 165. Carmont used the same strategy that Hall had used in the third frame of that Ring of Combat XXXIV bout, utilizing wrestling to dominate Philippou en route to a victory. The setback seems to be a temporary one, with Philippou’s bout against Luke Rockhold at next week’s UFC Fight Night 35 set as the event’s headliner. The winner could certainly jump back into the mix in the UFC’s middleweight title hunt.

Hall, meanwhile, took a completely different route to the eight-sided cage. Following the majority decision loss to Philippou, Hall spent the rest of 2011 and early 2012 building himself back up. He scored a knockout, a submission and a unanimous decision over three more Ring of Combat appearances, then landed a spot on The Ultimate Fighter 17. It was on the reality show where Hall truly built his hype. Hall impressed in a decision win over Andy Enz to make it into the TUF house and was selected by Chael Sonnen to be a member of Team Sonnen against the team of Jon Jones. Hall blazed a path of destruction through the season with knockouts of Adam Cella, Robert “Bubba” McDaniel and Dylan Andrews. Hall’s performances had escalated the hype to astounding proportions, but he has failed to deliver since making his official Octagon debut. He lost a split decision to Kelvin Gastelum for the TUF crown, followed with a split decision loss to John Howard and finally picked up his first UFC win at UFC 168 when Chris Leben gave up on his stool following a first round beating at the hands of Hall.

Of all the future UFC fighters on the card that night, Philippou and Hall have made the biggest impressions thus far on the UFC fan base. However, a pair of fighters could soon join them in that regard.

One of those fighters is Jessica Eye. Eye was just two fights into her pro career when she fought for the Ring of Combat women’s 130-pound title at Ring of Combat XXXIV. Following a successful amateur career, she had notched wins over Amanda LaVoy and Marissa Caldwell under the NAAFS banner before getting an invite to fight for ROC gold. Eye’s opponent for the belt was a 1-1 fighter named Ashley Nee.

Nee was overwhelmed from the start by Eye’s superior striking. She did have a chance to post some offense of her own after reversing Eye on the mat, but Eye quickly escaped and resumed the striking barrage until the referee stepped in to end the contest with less than 30 seconds remaining in the opening round.

With the TKO victory, Eye claimed the ROC 130-pound women’s title, but she never defended it, nor did she ever appear under the Ring of Combat banner again. She returned to NAAFS to fight for that promotion’s flyweight title, but lost via a rear-naked choke submission in the second round of her fight against Aisling Daly. Eye then made her Bellator debut with a win over Casey Noland and proceeded to bounce back and forth between Bellator and NAAFS, picking up notable wins over Angela Magana and Carina Damm under the NAAFS banner and Zoila Frausto Gurgel in the Bellator cage. Bellator eventually opted not to continue promoting women’s bouts and released Eye from her contract, opening the doors for a move to the bantamweight division and the UFC. Eye made her Octagon debut with an impressive showing against former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman at UFC 166. Eye eked out a split decision win and now awaits her sophomore fight for the promotion, a UFC 170 bout against Alexis Davis. Nee, meanwhile, has not competed again since her loss to Eye.

Joining Eye as a potential rising UFC star who appeared on the Ring of Combat XXXIV card is flyweight Alptekin Ozkilic. “The Turkish Delight” may be the most recent promising addition to the UFC’s 125-pound ranks, but he was just a one-fight veteran when he stepped into the Ring of Combat cage against Sergio da Silva. “The Savage” was making his pro debut that night, but he wouldn’t find much success. In a contest that lasted two four-minute rounds, Ozkilic swept the scorecards for a unanimous decision. Da Silva remains active and has even competed in the Bellator cage, but he holds a record of just 1-5.

Ozkilic still had a long road to travel before landing in the Octagon. He won his next three fights, then dropped a unanimous verdict to Chico Camus. He rebounded with another three wins, including TKO victories over Josh Robinson and Antonio Banuelos. That was enough to punch his ticket to the UFC more than two and a half years after his victory over da Silva. Ozkilic debuted in December 2013 against Darren Uyenoyama and worked his way to a split decision win. He opted to make a quick turnaround and will fight against at next week’s UFC Fight Night 35 against promotional newcomer Louis Smolka.

With four title fights taking place at Ring of Combat XXXIV, Eye wasn’t the only future UFC fighter vying for gold. Surprisingly, though, there was only one other. That person was Dustin Pague. The bantamweight met Steve De Angelis for the ROC crown.

Pague had already had his ups and downs throughout his career. He debuted in 2008 on the wrong side of an 18-second knockout against Jon Owens, but bounced back with a streak of five wins. Then, he went on three-fight skid against his toughest competition to date, Jeff Lentz, Anthony Leone and Din Thomas. Again, he bounced back with a run of four wins, enough to earn him the title bid under the ROC banner.

Pague, who had a balanced record of knockout and submission wins, delivered a big right hand early in the second round that sent De Angelis to the mat. The win gave Pague the title, but he never had a chance to defend the belt. Instead, he joined the cast of The Ultimate Fighter 14. Pague defeated Tateki Matsuda to make it into the TUF house and advanced past Louis Gaudinot before suffering a unanimous decision loss to T.J. Dillashaw. Pague made his official Octagon debut at the TUF 14 Finale, but lost to John Albert. He won his next UFC outing, but has lost his most recent four fights for the promotion and holds an overall UFC mark of 1-5. De Angelis hasn’t fought since that knockout loss.

As for the other two title affairs? Well, neither seems likely to produce a future UFC star.

In the featherweight division, it was Jacob Kirwan winning gold with a first-round guillotine choke submission of Ryan Vaccaro. Kirwan is just 9-5 overall, has gone 2-4 over his last six and hasn’t fought since May 2012. Vaccaro, meanwhile, is just 6-4, has also gone 2-4 over his last six and hasn’t fought since June 2012.

The lightweight title fight ended in a disqualification win for Marques Daniels. Daniels, already a Strikeforce veteran by that time, took an illegal knee while down. He was unable to continue and therefore his opponent, Gabriel Miglioli, was handed the disqualification loss. Daniels has only fought twice since then and has not picked up another win. He is 5-7 overall. Miglioli lost two fights in a row to Al Iaquinta, but has since bounced back with a five-fight winning streak to bring his overall mark to 8-5.

Not every fight can produce a prospect, but four of the bouts on Ring of Combat XXXIV combined to serve up five future UFC fighters. It’s nothing new to Ring of Combat, which has been a breeding ground to top prospects for years, but it certainly marks a significant event in the history of MMA.