With the amount of success and dominance former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold has seen in his career thus far, you’d think that there’d be a little more hype, media and build up surrounding his upcoming matchup against dangerous UFC veteran Vitor Belfort.
Rockhold however has kind of gone under the radar of most casual fans, with many even not knowing who he is, leading them to count him out rather quickly with very little basis or experience.
The hardcore fans on the other hand know exactly what to expect, two durable fighters with tremendous skills, one with a lifetime of experience and some of the heaviest lighting speed hands in MMA history, while the other is a super durable, well-conditioned, intelligent fighting machine with tons of heart and tough as they come.
With that said, if you were unsure about Rockholds motivation or confidence going into this fight, here’s a few quotes of the thoughts and feelings he shared in an interview with MMAJunkie.com regarding the press conference and staredowns that went down Thursday afternoon:
“Just squaring off with him and seeing eye to eye, it just really fires me up, I’m not going to lie. Him squaring up, you want to put your hand on my chin? Alright. Let’s go. I’m ready. This is a fight. It’s on.”
“Standing there and squaring off with Vitor, he just lit a fire under my ass. I’m seeing red right now, and I’m in kill mode. I’m just ready to get in there and fight. That’s all I’m thinking about right now.”
Rockhold also maintained his views on the topic of TRT, being outspoken against the therapy, but making sure to explain that he isn’t using it as an excuse to make things personal:
“It bothers me to take that route when you have a history of steroids and you’ve been caught in the past,” Rockhold said. “Obviously you’re looking for a way to supplement again and get on it. I’m a fan of a clean sport, and I’m here to clean up the sport.”
At the end of the day, both fighters seem to be ready to go mentally and physically. Rockhold for one may not have started as taking it personally but made no attempt to hide the fact that he didn’t enjoy the fist to chin stance that Vitor likes to employ in the staredowns:
“I’m in a different mode, a different mindset. I’ve lost my respect for Vitor and what he’s done, and I’m just focused on fighting. He’s an opponent. He’s in front of me, and obviously little things have fueled me. I’m just in fight mode.”
Official weigh-ins will take place Friday at 3 p.m. ET (4 p.m. BRT local time) at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua Do Sul, Brazil. You can view the press conference highlights below.