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Thales Leites calls out Michael Bisping

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Looks like Michael Bisping won’t be facing Luke Rockhold when he returns to the Octagon, so another middleweight fighter has offered himself to step up against the British contender.

Bisping and Rockhold were hoping to battle under the UFC banner, but UFC president Dana White said it won’t happen now. With Rockhold likely to meet Lyoto Machida in Brazil, Thales Leites has decided to respectfully call out "The Count."

"Bisping is a tough fighter, does great fights. He fights for a long time, does exciting fights. He’s well ranked, has a big name, and I think it’s would be great if we fight," Leites told "It can be in Brazil or in England. I think it would be an interesting fight."

Leites is coming off a devastating knockout victory over Francis Carmont at UFC Fight Night 49, his fourth win in one year since returning to the UFC, and he would go for another finish against Bisping, who stopped Cung Le with punches hours earlier in Macau, China.

"Anything can happen. I will always try to finish the fight before the decision," he said. "We’re fighting in a big promotion, with high-level athletes, and sometimes it won’t happen. Let’s see what they’re going to do next, but I can guarantee that I will do my best all the time."

The Nova Uniao talent will take some time off to rest after going 4-0 in 12 months, and he’s hopeful that Joe Silva will accept his offer.

"The matchmaking dance has started," he said. "I don’t know who they are going to match me with. If it’s Bisping, great. If it’s not, the UFC will make a good decision. I will wait, get some rest, go back to training and wait for the call."

While he waits for his next bout to be scheduled, Leites celebrates one of the biggest wins of his MMA career. The Nova Uniao middleweight, primarily a jiu-jitsu fighter, finished Carmont in impressive fashion in Tulsa, and he did exactly what he has planned to do.

"Everything that we trained, we executed in the fight. That’s it, hard work, hard training, everything well done," Leites said. "Everything went perfect, thank God, and I want more.

"I expected a good fight. I mean, I wanted the knockout or the submission, as I said before (the fight). I see the knockout as the best way possible (to win) and I want to move up the rankings. I’m honored to be at the top 12. There are some great guys there, but I know I have a lot of work to do.

A former UFC title contender, Leites has improved tremendously compared to his first run inside the Octagon.

"I have to seek for evolution, and I did that," he said. "I’ve been some rough moments with injuries and I tried to change my style, become more aggressive. The sport has evolved and I had to follow it. My confidence has changed a lot, and this is great.  Every time I win, I get more focused. I can’t promise wins, but I can promise good fights and my best all the time."

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