After over a decade of competing inside the UFC Octagon, veteran mainstay Michael “The Count” Bisping will finally receive his shot at middleweight supremacy when he rematches reigning champion Luke Rockhold at June 4’s UFC 199.

Rockhold was scheduled to meet ex-champion Chris Weidman, but Weidman was forced to withdraw with an injury, leading the UFC to call on Bisping.

When the two men first met in 2014, Bisping suffered a disappointing loss to Rockhold, but he’s now extremely confident about his chances in the rematch despite the fact that he’ll be fighting on just a few week’s notice.

“The Count” admits that he made mistakes in the first bout, but claims that when he and Rockhold trained together a few years back that he got the best of the champion:

“Look, I know I’m the underdog, Luke is a great fighter, he finishes guys and he’s finished me before. But, nothing about Luke scares me, it really doesn’t. I know this guy, it’s not like I’m going into unknown waters. I know exactly what to expect. Apart from that one head kick that dropped me, none of his shots hurt me at all. I believe I’m faster than him and I have the ability to beat this guy, believe you me. We trained before and I made mince meat out of him. When we fought, God bless him, he got the job done. But, every fight is different and I will approach this fight very differently. I made some mistakes in that last fight — I closed the distance then I went out of range. I was going in and out the whole time. This time, I am not going to play the long game, I can’t afford to do that. “ Bisping said on today’s (May 23, 2016) edition of The MMA Hour.

Bisping is well aware that he’ll likely be giving up the conditioning advantage, but in the end, he whole-heartedly feels as if he can finish Rockhold:

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“He’s going to have the better conditioning, let’s be honest. If it goes five rounds, I have to go slower, but I am going to look to take him out early by closing the distance, push him up against the fence and unleash what I got and I believe I can take him out.”

“The Count” has always been a polarizing trash talker, but his apparent beef with Rockhold appears to be more than just hype and promotion. In fact, Bisping admitted that this fight is ‘personal’, and he also had a few choice words for the 185-pound kingpin:

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“He’s a smug asshole, let’s be honest. Listen, as I said, I want the shot, want to be the champion, but I have this this inner fight in me, I pride myself in being a fighter, even in school. If there was a kid who was a couple of years older who thought he could beat me in a fight, I was like, ‘Cool, let’s go to the Castle Field and let’s figure it out. I’ve always been like that, it’s to my detriment, of course. Rockhold owns a victory over me, I want to rectify that. I want to set the record straight. Yes, I want to be the victor, world champion, but I also want to beat Luke Rockhold, it is personal to me. And when I look at him, I just want to knock that smug look off his face. I really do because you’ve never seen someone who walks around so smug. He’s just the biggest, smug prick you’ve seen in your life and I would love another opportunity to punch him in the face and be world champion at the same time.”

The Brit seems to be riding a wave of confidence, but does he have what it takes to steal the title away from Rockhold?

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