Luke Rockhold wants his middleweight title back and he sees his fight with Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza at UFC Melbourne as the fast-track to becoming a three-time world champion.
The 31-year-old American will fight Souza on November 26 at Rod Laver Arena in a rematch of a 2011 bout when Rockhold claimed his first middleweight title via unanimous decision in the pre-UFC Strikeforce competition.
He's looking to repeat that victory - then go after the belt he lost to Michael Bisping at UFC 199 when the Brit shocked him with a first round technical knockout.
"Ideal scenario? I go beat Jacare and then I go get my title back and become a three-time world champion," Rockhold told AAP.
"I know we have a history there and we had a good fight but I have gotten stronger and while he has gotten more confident and is a good technician I don't think he has improved a lot since then.
"I see it being a good fight and me putting him away in the third or fourth round."
A win over Souza, who is the UFC's No.3 ranked middleweight, would see Rockhold loom as a contender for either a rematch with Bisping or a title fight with fellow American Dan Henderson, depending on who wins that pair's bout at UFC 204, on October 8 in Manchester.
Rockhold, who has only lost two fights out of 16 since 2008, is still seething at the Bisping loss and the way he mentally prepared for the fight, which came six months after he took the middleweight title from the previously undefeated Chris Weidman (13-1) via TKO.
"A lot of people were discounting Michael and I bought into that too much," Rockhold said.
"It got into my head and I disrespected my opponent and s**t happened - but you know, lesson learned.
"Each time I have lost I have come back and won world titles ... and you know my knee is better now and I have my left kick back under me.
"I don't wish anything good for Michael, and Dan Henderson is a good friend of mine - so I hope he wins and then maybe I'lI fight him for the belt."