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Did TRT make a difference for Vitor Belfort? TRT user Matt Serra thinks so

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) banned fighters from using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) last year. However, they can't ban it for coaches.

Matt Serra has been on TRT for a little while now, and he is bullish about its results.

"I think it's a big deal, man," Serra told MMAFighting.com. "I think it makes a difference. I feel powerful, man. I'm ripping kimuras. I feel good. I never competed on it besides rolling with my guys and stuff like that. But it does make a difference."

That's why Serra, 40, thinks there is little doubt that TRT helped Vitor Belfort significantly in the past. Belfort will challenge Serra's star pupil Chris Weidman for the UFC middleweight title at UFC 187 on Saturday here at MGM Grand. Before the ban, Belfort had been on TRT for years with a therapeutic usage exemption (TUE).

"It is a performance enhancer, obviously," said Serra, a former UFC welterweight champion. "I think it definitely, definitely makes a difference. But not only that, he's been on juice for like the last 20 years. I don't know. Look at him at 19 [years old]. Does that guy look like he's not on something?"

Weidman and Belfort were supposed to clash three times before. Last Memorial Day Weekend, the original fight was set, but the NAC banned TRT and Belfort had to adjust to coming off of it. Weidman ended up beating Lyoto Machida by unanimous decision at UFC 175 last July.

Belfort was supposed to challenge Weidman again at UFC 181 in December, but Weidman reinjured his hand. Then Weidman hurt his rib when the fight was rescheduled to UFC 184 in February.

Serra said Weidman is healthy now and he's confident the champion won't just win, but finish Belfort.

"I think he's gonna break him in under three rounds, I'm gonna be honest with you," Serra said. "I think he's gonna be too much. I think he's gonna put pressure on him, and I think Vitor is gonna break."

The TRT element will certainly play a part. Belfort, 38, also tested positive for elevated testosterone levels in 2006. Serra presumes he's cheated his entire career.

"I think if you've been on that sh*t for that long, how much was really him and how much was that helping him?" Serra said. "That's gotta play into not just every body else's mind, but his mind, too."