Speaking on this week’s edition of the Inside MMA show on AXS TV, UFC president Dana White appeared more confident than ever that the sport of mixed martial arts will finally be legalized in the state of New York this year.

“I’m actually really confident it might happen this year,” White told Kenny Rice. “Lorenzo (Fertitta), Lawrence Epstein, Marc Ratner and a bunch of our other guys went up there and they had great meetings. Every time we’ve gone up there, it’s been really positive. Everybody up there loves the UFC. Everybody wants to see it happen.”

We know what you’re thinking, and you’re right, we have heard all this before. It is more than just blind optimism that’s got White so convinced that this is finally going to be the year they get it done though.

The big change that’s given everyone renewed hope is that long-time Speaker of the New York Assembly, Sheldon Silver was recently ousted from his position and arrested under suspicion of corruption. While his arrest has nothing to do with the UFC, it just so happens that each year they have tried to push a bill to legalize MMA in New York, it generally moves through the system without issue until abruptly coming undone at the New York Assembly.

The UFC have directly pointed the finger at Silver as being the issue in the past as the man responsible for this, noting that he has close ties to the Las Vegas Culinary Union who have made no secret about the fact that they have their knives out for the promotion.

With Silver now out of the picture and a new speaker, Carl Heastie (who’s been supportive of MMA in the past) taking his place there’s never been a better chance that New York will finally join the rest of the states in the U.S who’ve previously legalized the sport.

White even reveals that the UFC already has a venue booked for a potential event at Madison Square Garden in New York late this year if the bill is passed.

Watch more of White’s thoughts on the situation in New York below.