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Michael Bisping: “In my mind, Vitor Belfort is the hardest fight in the middleweight division outside of Anderson Silva.”

Vitor BelfortUFC middleweight Michael Bisping won’t be enjoying any candy canes or Christmas turkeys this holiday season. Rather, the 33-year old Brit will be busy getting in prime condition for perhaps the biggest fight of his career when he faces Vitor Belfort in Brazil on January 19. On the line is not only the right to claiming victory over a legitimate legend in his proverbial backyard but a likely shot at 185-pound champion Anderson Silva.

“For me, Christmas is coming late this year. Normally, it’s December 25, for me, Christmas is going to be January 19 when I go down to Brazil, beat the living snot out of Vitor Belfort and take my title fight, my rightly deserved title fight, my long overdue title fight,” explained Bisping in an interview with Inside MMA, making his case for the opportunity by reviewing his credentials and pointing to Belfort’s reputation in terms of the challenge he has ahead of him in a little more than a month.

“In my mind, Vitor Belfort is the hardest fight in the middleweight division outside of Anderson Silva,” said Bisping respectfully.

If he is able to get by Belfort, as stated, “The Count” may finally get the title-shot he’s seen dissipate a few times before, most recently when he came up a hair short in a controversial decision loss to Chael Sonnen. While Bisping hasn’t put too much thought into a fight with Silva, maintaining focus on the immediate task on his horizon, he does believe he has what it takes to beat the near-invincible Brazilian and will at least go out swinging if not.

“Anderson is, rightly so, regarded as the pound-for-pound best. What can I do? I’ve never gotten in with him – I don’t know,” Bisping admitted. “I believe in myself, I believe in my skills, I believe in my training, I believe in my ferocity as a fighter. I’ll get in there and I’ll fight him. I certainly ain’t going to fall down like some of these bums have done lately.”

Bisping holds an overall record of 23-4 with eighteen stoppages and wins over the likes of Yoshihiro Akiyama, Dan Miller, Chris Leben, and most recently Brian Stann.

Check out the full segment with Bisping below: