If Luke Rockhold didn’t already have enough reasons to take out Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 8 Saturday night, the rising middleweight says he has even more now. At a press conference today in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil to promote the May 18th card, Belfort and Rockhold engaged in a very tense face-off for photographers. It was the way Belfort extended his fist towards Rockhold’s chin in particular, which apparently enraged the former Strikeforce champ.
Rockhold told MMA Junkie.com afterwards:
“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.”
The 28 year-old American fighter has been critical of Belfort’s use of testosterone-replacement-therapy heading into this bout, in particular, because the renowned middleweight isn’t cleared for the procedure in the state of Nevada. Despite all that, however, Rockhold reportedly didn’t have anything personal agains the 36 year-old vet until now.
“Standing there and squaring off with Vitor, he just lit a fire under my ass,” Rockhold said. “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 could be drawing on today’s events to provide further motivation, as some fighters do prefer to dislike the person they’re about to punch, kick, or choke. Regardless of today’s face-off, and tomorrow’s will undoubtedly be heated as well, both men have a lot to gain in Saturday’s headliner.
Photo Credit: Scott Olmos-USA Today