UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw will once again face the man he won the title from, Renan Barao, as the two prepare for a do-over of their UFC 173 meeting. ‘The Viper’ scored the biggest title upset in UFC history that night, and another win over the Nova Uniao striker would likely put Dillashaw among the who’s who of the P4P (pound-for-pound) rankings. It’s been a crazy week of press for the UFC and TJ, and also Dana White, but there’s one story that proved a little confusing to say the least.
Ex-Team Alpha Male coach Duane Ludwig spoke out yesterday, claiming that Dillashaw, who splits his time between Alpha Male in California and Ludwig’s gym in Denver, Colorado, is the only TAM member with the chops to be UFC champion. The squad was in uproar and instantly hit back at ‘Bang’ on social media, but the renowned striking coach and UFC veteran tells Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting that he has no regrets about his somewhat controversial comments, transcribed by yours truly:
“I don’t regret it because ultimately if you want something then you will find out a way to make it happen. No one trains as intensely or as focused as TJ, he wants to be the number one fighter in the world, not the best of an organization but in the world, period. They are all striving for the same goal to be the best, but he is a very rare breed. If you want to be the best guy in the world you have to do certain things. What does Michael Jordan do that the other guys didn’t? First in the gym and last to leave, I’ve never been in that position, I’m not sure. The team helped together to make TJ the fighter that he is. I do feel bad (that this upset the team), these guys have won titles, done amazing things, but I was just pointing out the good things about TJ.”
It seems that timing is everything, and perhaps how he worded the comments was part of the sting, but Team Alpha Male certainly had ammunition for their return attack. ‘Bang’ continues, saying he does feel bad for the slur, but also points out that, with his tutelage, Chad Mendes could run through Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor:
“As for Chad Mendes, I think with a few changes he could be wearing the belt right now. I think he could beat (Jose) Aldo in Brazil, and I think he’d run through Conor McGregor right now if he was in shape. I felt horrible leaving, and now I feel bad for saying that, but it’s the truth. There’s champions and then there’s champions. It wasn’t the best timing, I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but it’s what I see, I see it in TJ but I don’t see it in anyone else. It’s frustrating because with Chad, just a few little changes and he could be the number one guy in the world. “
It would be interesting to see how guys like Chad Mendes and Lance Palmer performed if they were going to these ‘mini camps’ that Ludwig puts on for ‘Killashaw’ and a few others. Perhaps ‘Bang’ could complete the picture for ‘Money’ and get him to the title that has long been just out of his reach. Then again, the ex-Team Alpha Male coach may have burned too many bridges for that to become a reality now.
Did he talk without thinking? Maybe, but as of right now his comments were technically accurate. Do you see anyone from Team Alpha Male, aside from ‘Killashaw’, capturing UFC gold?