Dan Henderson: I’m beating Vitor Belfort, whether or not he’s on drugs
It wasn’t too long ago that former two-division world champion Dan Henderson was talking about making another run at a title. The all-time great is, however, 45 years of age, and has lost five out of his last seven contests.
So, he’s understandably taking things one fight at a time, now. For now, that one fight for Hendo is Vitor Belfort.
The two rivals have faced one another twice before, splitting the bouts. On Nov. 7, Henderson goes to Belfort’s home turf and fights him for a third time, looking to get revenge for Belfort’s nasty knockout win two years ago.
"I’m not even thinking about [another title]," Henderson recently told MMA Fighting.
"Right now I’m just focused on Vitor. If I beat him up pretty handily, I’m sure that helps. But at this point the only thing I care about is beating Vitor. So, it doesn’t matter to me other than me doing what I’m capable of with Vitor."
Henderson snapped a two-fight losing streak in June with a 28-second KO over Boetsch. Belfort’s last fight was a first round TKO loss to middleweight champion Chris Weidman in May.
Before that, Belfort had won three consecutive fights. Before, and since then, "The Phenom" has been plagued by banned drug-use scandals.
For years, Belfort avoided real regulation and used testosterone replacement therapy while fighting in jurisdictions (Brazil, Toronto) that didn’t mind, while officials in from real regulatory bodies like Nevada’s said that he likely wouldn’t be allowed to use TRT were he to fight there. A big part of that reason was because Belfort had already tested positive for a banned steroid, back in 2006, after his first fight against Henderson, since TRT is often associated with past steroid users who have problems producing enough testosterone, as Belfort has said he does.
TRT was subsequently effectively banned, and Belfort would fail yet another drug test in Nevada, but receive no suspension or fine for it, and ultimately be licensed without official sanction for his title fight with Weidman. All this was, of course, on top of his 2006 steroid bust, subsequent suspension by Nevada, which he ignored by fighting in Britain.
Most recently, it was revealed that Belfort failed yet another drug test, in 2012, prior to his short-notice light heavyweight challenge of then-champion Jon Jones. That fight took place in Toronto, the UFC was left to effectively regulate itself, and they chose not to pull him from the fight or let the public know about the failure, until it was discovered by journalists.
All that is to say that Henderson – long a proponent of MMA and the UFC instituting the type of enhanced drug testing he had to undergo as an international and Olympic wrestler, for years – is happy that Belfort may now be undergoing more stringent testing. "It definitely helps doing out-of-competition drug testing, with no advanced notice," he went on.
"That’s something that I had in my life for a long time, being on the national Olympic team for wrestling in the United States. For 15 years, I was subject to it. When I started fighting MMA, there was no drug testing. I’m pretty happy, now, and I’m confident that Vitor and other fighters won’t use PEDs."
Henderson has, of course, used TRT in the past, he was just able to get therapeutic use exemptions for it. Once those TUEs were done away with, in Nevada, Henderson says that he’s somehow been able to fight without treating his low-testosterone.
The American says that, ultimately, he doesn’t care what Belfort or anyone may or may not be using and may or may not be getting away with. "I’m beating Vitor regardless of him being on drugs or not," he concluded.
"I’m still capable of beating him, and I’m happy that the UFC has implemented its drug-testing. [That’s] something that I’ve been asking [for] for a long time."