With new UFC Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw saying he wants to continue working with Duane 'Bang' Ludwig, could he be about to splinter off from Team Alpha Male?
Ludwig's departure from the Sacramento-based team was one of the major storylines going into Dillashaw's fight against Renan Barao. It was the last chance for Ludwig to win a championship belt with the team as head coach and all the Team Alpha Male fighters were sad to see him go... well most of them.
Team Alpha Male owner and #2 ranked bantamweight, Urijah Faber, said that the departure of Ludwig was a 'breath of fresh air' for him and Team Alpha Male.
The emotional style of coaching that Ludwig practises wasn't Faber's preferred form of training, especially as it can flip from positive to negative very easily. He's already been looking for a replacement for Ludwig, with UFC welterweight Martin Kampmann leading the contenders.
However, with Dillashaw's win, things have certainly got a lot more complicated in both the bantamweight division and amongst Team Alpha Male.
Faber is a perennial contender for the bantamweight title but in MMA, teammates don't like to face teammates, especially in title fights, something which prompted Daniel Cormier to drop to light heavyweight to face Jon Jones, instead of close friend Cain Velasquez.
So is Faber just expected to be the number two guy who weeds out opponents for Dillashaw? That seems unlikely and would certainly annoy Dana White, who has previously cut fighters for becoming 'gatekeepers'.
Although the two have both said they're hesitant to fight one another, it was Ludwig who has fired the shot in a potential battle between the two.
Speaking to MMAJunkie Radio, Ludwig said that he'd coach Dillashaw in a fight against Urijah Faber, when asked which he would corner.
“T.J.’s my boy." He stated simply.
Despite his issues with Faber, Ludwig still spoke highly of Faber, especially about his talent scouting ability.
“I’m talking to you right now because of Urijah Faber,” Ludwig said. “He’s the guy who put together this team; he’s the guy who called me to come out and help him coach.
“I wouldn’t be in this position without him, nor would T.J. T.J. didn’t walk into Ultimate Fitness. Urijah went out and recruited him; he recruited Chad Mendes, also. So it’s not like they were homegrown champions. He’s a mastermind himself. He has a great eye for talent.”
For now though, Ludwig is moving back to Denver, where he's going to be working on his own gym. He's said that he's open and ready to work with any of the Team Alpha Male guys should they want it.
Whether or not Dillashaw moves over to Ludwig's gym in the future is not clear but should a fight be organised against Faber, it would probably be the most likely move from Dillashaw and that would be just the kind of drama that Dana White wants to sell.
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