UFC Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw has confirmed that he is leaving Team Alpha Male to join former coach Duane Ludwig at Ludwig’s Team Elevation camp in Denver, Colorado.
A New Chapter
While Dillashaw joins his former coach in Denver when he begins training for his January 2016 title defense against former champion Dominick Cruz , Ludwig won’t be Dillashaw’s official “head coach”. According to reports, Dillashaw will train with Team Elevation and will be getting “regular coaching” from Ludwig as both see fit. But make no mistake, the move to Denver is all about Duane Ludwig and a “new chapter” in his career.
Dillashaw started his career with Team Alpha Male but despite the camp’s high profile stars like Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez, they never had a UFC champion until Ludwig arrived in 2013 and transformed Dillashaw from a young contender into the brilliant striker who ended Renan Barao’s incredible run of 33 fights without a loss. Since that UFC 173 upset victory, Dillashaw has continually improved and showed that with his second win over Barao last July 25.
But with Dillashaw’s rise came rumors of internal conflict within Team Alpha Male, specifically between Faber and Ludwig. Shortly after winning the UFC bantamweight title, Ludwig quit his post a head trainer to set up his own camp in Denver. But despite his departure, Ludwig was always in contact with Dillashaw and occasionally trained the champ. Many observers wondered how long would it be before Dillashaw would follow Ludwig in Denver. We now have that answer.
Money was said to be the root of the problem at Team Alpha Male. Faber called Ludwig a “racist who is shady about money”. That started an ugly war of words between the two. This week Faber took a shot at Dillashaw, saying he walked away from the “family” who made him who he is today. But Dillashaw made the move simply to focus on his future, especially his next fight against the Dominator.
The Early Favorite
T.J. Dillashaw versus Dominick Cruz has been set for UFC Fight Night 81 on January 17, 2016 at the TD Garden Arena in Boston. Dillashaw opened as the early favorite at -150 against Cruz who was pegged at +120 in what is expected to be a very competitive fight. Fans are crossing their fingers though that Cruz makes it to fight night as his has been a career cut short by injuries. After a successful comeback at UFC 178 in September 2014, Cruz has spent the entire 2015 rehabilitating a torn ACL. Cruz was the former UFC bantamweight champion who was stripped of the title after missing nearly three years due to numerous knee injuries from 2012-2014.