MMA fans are used to seeing beef escalate between their favoured fighter(s) and someone else, whether it be another fighter, commentator or even their own teammate.
One of the most bad blooded beefs in the UFC came at the hands of two talented bantamweights – TJ Dillashaw and Urijah Faber. The story is extremely interesting, so we suggest you tag along for this one.
Team Alpha Male (TAM), which has produced its fair share of bantamweight contenders, was founded by Urijah Faber. And, TJ Dillashaw was originally part of the team – he became their first champion, when he defeated Renan Barao. Interestingly, the talented Faber was never able to capture the belt himself.
However, the rift started enveloping when Duane Ludwig, Team Alpha Male’s striking coach left TAM for Colorado, to start his own gym. While he was with TAM, TJ Dillashaw and Duane Ludwig had developed quite the friendship – no wonder Dillashaw’s striking is as crisp as it is. Dillashaw followed Ludwig to Colorado, splitting his time between the two, before leaving TAM altogether.
In the meantime, TJ Dillashaw also had the chance to stick it to the folks over at TAM a little more – he would fight to defend his belt against Dominick Cruz, who was considered the principal nemesis of TAM. However, he would lose a close split-decision to him.
The crux of the matter was reached when a young prospect from TAM, Cody Garbrandt managed to manouever one of the steepest rises to the top of the UFC, which he capped off by beating champion, Cruz. After Duane Ludwig’s exit from the team, Garbrandt’s win meant he had captured the all elusive glory for his team, finally.
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TJ Dillashaw went two up against Urijah Hall’s Team Alpha Male by beating Cody Garbrandt twice
With Urijah Faber’s age catching up to him, UFC gold was becoming all the more elusive for him. One of the prime reasons for the beef, in fact, is also down to Dillashaw capturing the belt that had evaded the talented Faber.
Since the win over Dominick Cruz, it was inevitable that the Garbrandt and Dillashaw would potentially meet in the octagon at some point. The PPV would sell, as it not only had a genuine test of skill, but also a real rivalry behind it. With a lot of allegations flying around, the bout was expected to bring in numbers. Trust the UFC to promote these fights the best they can!
This rift was brought out in full force on The Ultimate Fighter in 2017, when Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw found themselves coaching the two opposing teams. The show was filled with run-ins. Longtime UFC fans will remember Dillashaw’s heated moments with both Faber and Cody Garbrandt. Fans might also remember the infamous moment of Conor McGregor calling TJ Dillashaw a snake.
The first fight between the pair was an extremely close affair. Although Cody Garbrandt had Dillashaw rocked, he rallied back to finish him in the second round. A second fight followed suit the next year. No problem, yet again for Dillashaw. This time he managed it a round quicker, finishing Garbrandt in the first round. With his two wins, Dillashaw had finally dug the final nail in Faber and TAM’s coffins.
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Since, their tales have diverged quite a bit. Garbrandt has had quite the up and down journey – Since losing twice to Dillashaw, Garbrandt is 1-3 in the UFC. Although he beat Rafael Assuncao, he also lost to Pedro Munhoz, Rob Font and Kai Kara France (at flyweight). Dillashaw, conversely , went on to become one of the best champions of the division – that is, until he was caught using PEDs and banned for two years.
Urijah Faber, on the other hand, returned to the octagon in 2019, after a three year layoff (at 41). He beat Ricky Simon but lost brutally to Petr Yan, the future bantamweight champion.
Despite the rivalry being in the past, it is unlikely that the fighters involved, or even the fans will forget this special part of the UFC’s history. Fans have the chance to catch TJ Dillashaw in action again tomorrow, when he takes on champion Aljamain Sterling.
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