Over the past few years it’s seemed like the UFC’s battle to get mixed martial arts legalized in the state of New York was never going to end as every year the motion gets raised and then dismissed in the State Assembly.

It may come as a surprise then to learn that Dana White is bodly claiming that this year the matter will come to a head and the sport will finally be sanctioned in The Empire State.

“We’re so close,” White claimed on FOX Sports Radio recently. “It’s going to happen, and I guarantee you it’s going to happen this year.”

White has always been confident that the bill would get passed eventually, but he’s never put on a time frame on it like this before.

Not only that, but he’s already day-dreaming about their first potential big fight at Madison Square Garden.

“It’s going to depend on what it happens, timing and everything else, but obviously, it would be nice to go in there with, probably, Jon Jones,” White said.

It’s unclear what’s changed that’s made the UFC president so confident. Last year he pointed the finger directly at The Culinary Union as the main instigators behind-the-scenes in keeping the bill from passing in recent times, and if anything that feud has now escalated with the Union going as far as to launch websites attempting to tarnish Dana White’s reputation and claim that the sport is unfit for children to watch.

On the other hand, stepping into 2012 the UFC now have a mainstream television deal with FOX, and with practically every other state in the U.S having already legalized the sport and seen a significant positive economic impact as the result of hosting their events, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for New York to continue to justify their current stance.

It’ll be very interesting to see how this situation develops in the coming months, but having been down this road a number of times before and being left disappointed, it would be wise not to pop open the champagne just yet.