Mark Coleman declared himself the 'luckiest man in the world' after winning Pride Grand Prix 2000 (VIDEO)

Flashback to May 1, 2000, when Mark Coleman delivered an emotional post-fight speech that he recalled from his hospital bed recently.
UFC 100 Weigh-In
UFC 100 Weigh-In / Jon P. Kopaloff/GettyImages

This article is part of a new series by FanSided MMA honoring milestones and memories from the past. Watch for a new flashback feature every Thursday.

Mixed martial arts pioneer, Mark Coleman, has been in the news recently as he heroically saved both of his parents from their burning home. In a video originally posted to Coleman's Instagram account, the UFC hall of famer can be seen recovering in a hospital bed. He then hugs his daughters and emotionally states "I am the happiest man in the world."

As a father, seeing Coleman embrace his daughters after not knowing if he would ever see them again brings a tear to my eye. As a fight fan, that quote brings back memories of his post-fight interview when he declared "I feel like the luckiest man in the world" after reaching what many consider to be the pinnacle of his storied career, winning the Pride FC: Grand Prix 2000.

In 2000, Pride FC was considered to have the top MMA talent in the world and in order to determine who was the best in the organization they put on their inaugural open weight grand prix tournament. Though tournaments would become a staple of Pride FC, the 2000 grand prix would be their first.

The 16 fighter bracket read like a who's who of MMA, including Coleman, Mark Kerr, Igor Vovchanchyn, Gary Goodridge, Royce Gracie, and Kazushi Sakuraba. Only one man could emerge victorious and lay claim to being the best mixed martial artist to walk the planet.

The tournament format would be nothing new for Coleman as he had previously won the UFC 10 and UFC 11 single night tournaments. In addition to being a two time UFC tournament champion, he captured the inaugural UFC heavyweight championship. After that win he would go on to lose his next three fights in the promotion before making his debut in Pride FC. Coleman lost that debut against Nobuhiko Takada in what many believe was a fixed fight. It appeared that Coleman's best days were behind him.

In the opening round of Pride FC: Grand Prix - 2000, Coleman secured a submission victory via neck crank over Masaaki Satake. The remaining three rounds of the tournament, would take place a few months later on May 1, 2000.

Coleman used his legendary ground and pound and improved boxing to earn a decision victory over Akira Shoji in the quarterfinals before an injured Kazuyuki Fajita's corner threw in the towel just seconds in to their semifinal matchup. Against the odds, Coleman had made it to the finals, but standing across from him was one of the most feared men in all of mixed martial arts, Igor Vovchanchyn.

Watch Mark Coleman's emotional Pride Grand Prix 2000 post-fight speech

Vovchanchyn came in to the finals with a record of 41-2-1, more than tripling the experience of Coleman. Under tournament rules, rounds would last 15 minutes, with the fight continuing until one fighter could no longer compete.

Utilizing his Olympic level wrestling, Coleman took Vovchanchyn down early in the first round. Resembling his quarterfinal bout with Satake, Coleman spent the better part of the opening 15 minutes operating out of his opponent's guard while firing thunderous right hands to the body.

To start the second round, Coleman showcased a new found maturity to his game, using his footwork to corner Vovchanchyn and once again score the takedown. This time, Coleman was able to pass the guard of Vovchanchyn, working to a north south position. From there, Coleman delivered crushing knees to the head, legal in Pride FC, to illicit the tap out from Vovchanchyn.

Standing in the ring with streamers falling around him, Coleman had done it, he was once again at the top of the mixed martial arts world.