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Middleweight champion Michael “The Count” Bisping will return to the Octagon for the first time since October 2016 at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 against former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. St-Pierre has been out of action since November 2013, but Bisping is expecting “Rush” to show up in top form.

“Georges is always in shape. He’s a consummate professional. I’m expecting the best Georges St-Pierre and that’s what I’m preparing for. He’s been lifting a lot of weight and preparing for this for a long time. He does look a little bigger. He looks like he’s packed on some muscle, so maybe that’s going to slow him down. Who knows? I don’t care,” Bisping recently told UFC.com.

“Georges can get as big as he wants. I hope he does. All that muscle needs oxygen and slow him down, slow down his punches and he’ll gas quicker,” added Bisping.

Before stepping away from the sport after defending the 170-pound title nine consecutive times, there was talk of GSP moving up to the middleweight division for superfights. He always maintained that it would take time to put on the size needed to compete against bigger opponents. He’s had that time, but he’ll still be smaller than Bisping when they meet at Madison Square Garden.

“He can be as big as he wants. Georges can get as big as he wants, but guess what? He’s still going to be the smallest guy I’ve ever fought. It’s as simple as that. I’ve been fighting monsters at 205 and 185 for my entire career,” said the middleweight titleholder.

Bisping believes St-Pierre sought the bout because he thinks Bisping is an easy stylistic match-up. “The Count” also believes that St-Pierre will be in for a rude awakening on Nov. 4.

“He’s looking at me as an easy fight. That’s why he wants to fight me,” he said. “Georges thinks I’m an easy fight for him stylistically. He thinks that he can take me down and hold me down. But Georges, you’re wrong.”

While Bisping is expecting a tough fight, he also can see himself taking out the former welterweight champion early in the UFC 217 main event.

“I think I beat Georges all day. I really do. I know he’s going to be a tough fight. I know he’s going to be bigger and more powerful than he’s ever been. I know he’s got great karate. He’s a consummate professional. He’s a fantastic athlete. He’s probably stretching everyday. He’s probably eating (expletive) egg whites every morning. I’m cut from the other side of the cloth. I’ll drink a six pack and knock that bum out,” said Bisping.

“It’s going to be a tough fight. It ain’t no walk in the park, but I also believe that I can take Georges out in the first round. I’m going to lower my base. I’m going to walk forward, and I’m going to put it on him from the opening bell.”

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