Michael Bisping admitted that he cannot afford to lose to former middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC Fight Night 84 from London’s O2 Arena on Saturday.
The Mancunian aspires to one day capture UFC gold but admits that losing to the “Spider” would leave him precariously positioned in the rankings.
“I have to win this fight, this is a no lose situation for me. I’m not getting any younger and I want to fight for the belt. If I lose this isn’t good for my career,” he said.
“There is pressure, but nothing greater than the pressure I put on myself. Pressure is something that I put myself under and something that I thrive under.”
He added: “Of course, I always wanted to be the first British UFC champion.”
At the age of 36 and with losses to three fellow top ten contenders on his record the “Count” knows he cannot afford any more setbacks.
But the UFC veteran said that even in the event of a loss he would still not consider retirement and he is looking for the home crowd to help dispel any such discussion after the fight.
“England is my home country and London is the nation’s capital so to fight at the o2 Arena in front of my home people I am super excited,” he said.
“Being an Englishman, being a British fighter and representing our fantastic nation at this high level means the world to me. The support of the British public blows me away. I never take it for granted ever and it is something that I will take to my grave.”
Bisping was full of praise for his Brazilian counterpart’s past but believes his demise in recent years will prove decisive on the night.
Silva has not officially won since 2012 due to a gruesome leg break as well as a 12 month suspension following a failed drug test.
“He’s a legend, all things said and done the guy’s a legend,” Bisping said.
“But he said he hasn’t trained as intensely for this fight. When he’s probably sat at home watching TV I’m out pounding the pavement, sprinting on the streets in the pitch black with no one with me, just me and a set of headphones.
“He doesn’t want this as much as badly as I do and that’s going to be the crucial matter in this.”