Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold recently declared he "had more heart" and was "more of a man" than Vitor Belfort ahead of their UFC on FX 8 fight, which goes down at Arena Jaragua in Santa Catarina, Brazil.
A "fired up" Rockhold seems to be getting fuel for his fire thanks to the recent revelation that "The Phenom" has been granted permission to undergo Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) prior to his UFC on FX 7 fight against Michael Bisping.
Thanks to that "chip on his shoulder," Luke says he is ready to go to Brazil on UFC's dime and gladly "kick Belfort's ass."
And while the 28 year-old Rockhold has done plenty during his five-year career and has likely gone through trials and tribulations throughout his life, he is no position to say he is "more of a man" than "The Phenom" according to the Brazilian bomber.
He said as much during an appearance on "The MMA Hour:"
"I think he's wrong, but, what are you going to say? People say what they want to say. He doesn't know me so I don't know how he could say that. But, we'll see. I don't describe, you cannot judge. I think it's too arrogant to say you're more of a man. I don't know if he knows what a man is. He doesn't have any kids, he doesn't have a wife and I don't know what he's thinking. He's talking about courage? I don't know what he did in the sport. I think it's disrespectful the way he thinks. But, it is what it is, you can't control people. My conversation with him will be inside the cage and I'm not going to 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 give a lot of things for the sport and I'm still facing these young guys and I'm bringing the heat, man. Come to the jungle."
In response to Rockhold's TRT issues, Belfort said the treatment doesn't win you fights and finds it odd that losses for fighters under TRT are never mentioned:
"Why don't they talk about people that are on TRT and lose in the first round? TRT doesn't win fights. Look at Chael Sonnen, he's on TRT and he's lost fights in the first, second round. That doesn't win fights, you have to have skills."
According to Belfort, he thinks UFC and athletic commissions should make it known to everyone every single fighter under TRT in efforts to bring legitimacy to the highly-debated issue.
Controversial topics aside, as Belfort heads into fight number 33 in his long and illustrious career, he isn't worried about a future title shot, he's just looking at the next fight and knows Dana White and Co. will make title fight decisions when they see fit.
First up on the path to gold is a young and hungry Rockhold who is currently riding a nine-fight win streak and heads into hostile territory looking to dethrone one of the all-time MMA greats in his Octagon debut.
But does he have the skills to take out a grizzled veteran such as Belfort on the biggest stage of them all?