Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran David Michaud got off to a bumpy start in the Professional Fighters League as he was on the wrong end of a 17-second knockout loss to Sadibou Sy in May. However, he bounced back from the setback and now finds himself in the 2019 PFL welterweight championship fight on New Year’s Eve in New York City. He will battle returning finalist Ray Cooper III, a man who has earned a reputation during the league’s first two seasons as a destructive force with heavy hands.

Michaud understands the life-changing opportunity that awaits him when he attempts to win championship gold and $1 million inside Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. The 31-year-old also understands the fact that his opponent is a dangerous man. Yet, “Bulldawg” did not reach this point by lacking confidence. He feels very good about his chances on Dec. 31. Although, he admits Cooper III owns a serious x-factor that he must navigate. That being the Hawaiian’s power-punching prowess.

“As soon as we get out there, he’s going to throw those big nasty hooks at me, and try to knock me out,” Michaud told Sherdog. “When you’ve got a guy with knockout power like that, it’s always going to be the biggest danger. When he’s on the mat, he’s really not throwing up [submissions]. He’s still throwing bombs. He’s still trying to put you to sleep. He puts everything he’s got into every strike. Which is dangerous. [I’ve] got to stay safe the whole time. Can’t let him touch me with that.”