Former UFC light-heavyweight champion, Vitor Belfort, will welcome the last Strikeforce middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold, into the Ultimate Fighting Championship on May 18, and "The Phenom" couldn't be any more fired up heading into their encounter.
The two will headline the UFC on FX 8 fight card at the Arena Jaraguá in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil.
Rockhold (10-1-0, 6 submissions) rubbed Belfort (22-10-0, 15 KOs) the wrong way, when he labeled him as a Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) abuser. The Brazilian plans to make him pay for his "arrogance" when they square up inside the Octagon at UFC on FX 8.
"My conversation with him will be inside the cage," Vitor promised during an appearance on the MMA Hour. "I don't have to talk. We're going to fight, and that's what it's about. I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I did a lot of things for the sport, and I'm still doing. Facing these young guys, and I bring the heat, man. He'll come to a jungle. He'll face a lion."
Vitor admitted his TRT replacement after his UFC on FX 7 knockout victory against Michael Bisping, and he insists he only supplements with testosterone because his doctors advised him to do so.
"It's hard. I cannot explain why I need something," Belfort lamented. "It's just, the doctors, you know, just they said that I need [TRT]. I did everything by the book. I went to the commissions, the UFC. I never hide from them, so they knew what I was doing. I believe everyone has their personal things. My health is my personal life, you know? A lot of people on TRT, they don't tell [the UFC], whatever."
TRT is certainly a controversial subject in the MMA community, and the fact that Belfort failed a post-fight drug test in 2006 makes it easy to criticize his testosterone supplementation. In addition, Vitor's physique seems to improve as he ages, making it even easier to attribute some of his recent successes to his TRT usage.
However, like "The Phenom" rightly pointed out, it takes a lot more than elevated testosterone levels (levels should be normal if TRT is properly administered) to win fights.
"Why don't we talk about people that do TRT and they lose in the first round?" Belfort added. "Because, you know, TRT doesn't win fights, man. It doesn't win fights. Look at Chael Sonnen. He's on TRT and he lost fights in the first, second round. It's not going to win fights. You've got to have skills to win fights. That's what it is."
Well said Mr. Belfort, well said.
While MMA fighters who abuse TRT typically perform better than they otherwise would without it, it isn't always enough to make a difference in the outcome of the fight. Elevated testosterone levels might improve your cardio and strength, but it won't help you slip punches, and it definitely won't protect you from triangle/armbar combos like Sonnen found out at UFC 117.
Vitor Belfort doesn't plan to waste his breath trying to convince Rockhold that his reasons for undergoing TRT are legit.
"Words have power, and I think when you're proud, and you're arrogant, and you cross the line, you've got to deal with what you said," Belfort vowed. "Bisping did the same thing, and guess what? When people talk, man..."