Perennial UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort has won four of his past five bouts, and his sole loss was a short-notice, 205-pound title clash with champion Jon Jones.
However, the fact that he's an open user of testosterone replacement therapy and hasn't fought in the United States in just over two years has fans, fighters and reporters alike questioning if his recent hot streak has been tainted or not.
On Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, "The Phenom" said his TRT usage has nothing to do with him fighting in his home country of Brazil, also mentioning that drug testing in Brazil isn't as lax as many would like to believe (via MMA Fighting).
A lot of fighters are on TRT right now, (but) everybody’s saying that’s why I fight there, Belfort told host Ariel Helwani. But I believe the reason why I fight in Brazil is because I sell a lot in Brazil. I miss fighting in Las Vegas and other places, but I don’t see any problems that I’m not fighting (there) because I sell big in Brazil. Makes sense for them and makes sense for me ... Brazil is the only place that they do blood tests after the fight. Now, I’m fighting a guy who’s on TRT, too. They are very surprised that they will have to test blood too. Two months before the fight I have to do blood tests, at least once a month. I do that on my own every week, too. It’s important. I’m just trying to be fair with everybody and also with myself.
After a brief but aggressive campaign to earn a second middleweight title shot came up short, Belfort has still ruled out competing at 185 pounds until the belt is on the line (via MMA Weekly).
As he anxiously awaits the result of Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva II at UFC 168 this December, the hard-hitting Brazilian will have a tough rematch on his own hands in the form of Dan Henderson.
Belfort also told Helwani that he is "very happy to have the rematch" and called Henderson "a lion" and a "great fighter." The matchup is set for UFC Fight Night 32 on November 9 in Goiania, Brazil.
The bout, which will be contested at light heavyweight, will be Belfort's third straight in Brazil and his fifth straight outside of the U.S.
For the record, "Hendo" did not use TRT in his most recent bout against Rashad Evans at UFC 161 in June, which took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Henderson withdrew his testosterone usage exemption request when he was under the impression he wouldn't get approval, he said in an interview with MMA Junkie last month.
Henderson's jiu-jitsu coach recently accused Belfort of hiding in Brazil to avoid stricter drug testing regulations in the states, while Strikeforce import Tim Kennedy flat out said TRT should be banned from the sport.
Despite a popular opinion to the contrary, is Belfort actually playing by the rules with his TRT usage?