by Steven Marrocco on Aug 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm ET
While UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones didn't directly address Dan Henderson's expected use of prescribed testosterone, he made his feelings on the issue known.
"I believe that if you're healthy enough to play sports, you shouldn't take any performance-enhancing drugs or anything for testosterone," Jones said today during a teleconference in support of UFC 151.
"You should fight the way you fight when you're in your 40s. I don't think you should be able to take a drug to pretty much give you the strength of a 30-year-old again."
In advance of a 2007 fight with Wanderlei Silva, Henderson (29-8 MMA, 5-2 UFC) received a therapeutic use exemption from the Nevada State Athletic Commission to undergo testosterone replacement therapy. He is expected to receive another to fight Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) on Sept. 1 at UFC 151, which takes place at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Jones initially hedged on giving his feelings about the controversial treatment, but said fighters who were on TRT were unnaturally extending their shelf life and shouldn't be allowed to do so.
"Fighters make a lot of money in their 20s, they make a lot of money in their 30s, and when they get in their 40s, unfortunately, you're in your 40s," he said. "... That's like me saying, 'I'm not as fast-twitch as I was when I was 20. Let me take something to be 20 again.' I think things like TRT or steroids should be for the sick, or for the normal people that really need the drugs.
"If you're an athlete, you're an athlete. I don't think anyone should have anything that enhances them."
Henderson did not respond to follow-up requests for comment on Jones' statements.
Trash talk explained
Like opposing chess pieces moving closer, quotes from Henderson and Jones have grown more bold as the fight has neared.
The 41-year-old Henderson – who turns 42 on Friday – may have fired the first shot when, in an interview with ESPN, he called Jones a "sloppy" fighter who threw "goofy elbows." Jones recently responded in an interview with MMAFighting.com by calling him an "older version of Rashad Evans."
The jabs aren't any different than hundreds of others that have preceded a big fight. Often, though, they inflame things when opponents share the same air.
Today, any emotion that might have charged those statements, or led to a verbal clash when they were again brought up, was absent.
In calling Jones "sloppy," Henderson said he was simply making an observation about the 25-year-old champ.
"I'm probably an older version of a lot of people, but I don't think I'm the same style as Rashad," Henderson said. "We're both wrestlers, but have totally different wrestling styles. I don't know. I guess I don't have too many comments."
Jones acknowledged he was upset by Henderson's statements. But that had been tempered by his respect for the ex-champ.
"All these insults back-to-back-to-back started off the whole fight," he said. "I was just like, 'Oh, so this is how we're going to play, huh?'
"I do respect Dan Henderson a lot. He's a guy's guy. I just saw a picture of him holding a rattlesnake recently that he found in his backyard. Things like that. I would want to take him to the gun range with me; he's that type of dude. But at the same time, when insults are thrown out, it causes me to speak more honestly, and I spoke my mind."
Jones stuck by his statement that Henderson is an aged Evans and said he sees similarities in preparing for the two. Both, he said, have powerful right hands and can wrestle.
But he believes Evans can last longer.
"Rashad … can bring it for five hard rounds," Jones said. "I don't think Dan can do that. It may be a slight insult, but everything I said was pure truth."
Henderson didn't necessarily disagree with Jones.
"Sometimes my cardio could have been a little better, but I think a lot of that is attributed to the pace I fight sometimes," he said. "I've had some pretty good paces in a few of the fights, and I'm not worried about my cardio for this fight at all."
As for the holes he sees in Jones' game, Henderson echoed his opponent: He was just speaking his mind. The difference, perhaps, was that he didn't need to feel insulted to share.
"It's not anything of an insult," Henderson said. "It is what it is."
I got a chuckle out of this.