Luke Rockhold has never been one to shy away from being honest in the media. He's routinely called out UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva and isn't holding back when it comes to his UFC on FX 8 opponent, Vitor Belfort.
In an interview for MMA Fight Corner, Rockhold expressed why he's so confident heading into Brazil to face Belfort.
"Vitor will always have fast hands, he has good power, but I pose a lot of problems myself," Rockhold said. "I’m a longer fighter, I have better kicks than him. I believe my advantages are on the ground, in wrestling, in the distance in the stand up. I have plenty of ways to win this fight."
That seems like your standard fight hype talk until Rockhold dropped this line.
"And most of all, I got more heart than Vitor. I think I’m more of a man than Vitor.”
Rockhold's animosity likely stems from Belfort's use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The controversial treatment has been under the microscope for quite some time and it seems to be an issue that fans/fighters are either completely for or completely against.
Alan Belcher was critical of Belfort's use of TRT following the Brazilian's KO victory over Belcher's UFC 159 opponent, Michael Bisping. It seems as if Rockhold doesn't care for Belfort's medical issues either:
I think it’s a crock of s*** personally. I don’t understand it. I think Nevada set the standard for most of the other states. And it’s like the NBA and Baseball, if they travel overseas, they’re not going to be permitted to use steroids just because they’re overseas. I think it’s just crap. But at the same time, if they’re not going to punish him, I will. And I believe it hurts you in more ways than it helps you.
Belfort was given a TRT exemption for the Bisping fight after being diagnosed with hypogonadism or low testosterone.
Nevada State Athletic Commissioner Keith Kizer has said in the past that Belfort likely wouldn't be given a TRT exemption if he fought in Nevada due to Belfort's past history. Belfort tested positive for elevated testosterone levels following his loss to Dan Henderson at Pride 32 (an event that occurred in Las Vegas).
As UFC on FX 8 will happen in Brazil, Belfort will be allowed to use TRT "as long as he tests within the ratios allowed by the UFC and the newly formed Brazilian Athletic commission."
Rockhold believes a victory over Belfort should launch him into title contention, so I'd expect the AKA fighter and former Strikeforce champ to bring his A-game on May 18.