T.J. Dillashaw is leaving Team Alpha Male for greener pastures. Literally.
The UFC bantamweight champion said Tuesday night on Stud Radio that Elevation Fight Team will be compensating him financially for training there moving forward. It was reported by Globo earlier Tuesday that Dillashaw would be departing from Team Alpha Male for the burgeoning team in Denver, which is sponsored by MusclePharm.
"Now, Elevation Fight Team came to me and they want to pay me some good money to train with them," Dillashaw said. "They’re offering to pay me to train, instead of me paying to train. This sport is growing so much that that’s the way I feel like it should be. We’re professional athletes. I feel like I got treated better in college wrestling. I had a physical therapist on hand at all times, no matter what, when I was in college. And that’s not where MMA is at yet."
Previously, Dillashaw said he had spent time with Elevation over his last two training camps, but it became expensive. He had to rent a home and travel in between four gyms for different aspects of MMA. However, this newly renovated MusclePharm gym will have everything under one roof. Dillashaw said the facility is "state of the art" and "bad ass."
"If anybody else was in my situation, they would take the exact same deal," Dillashaw said. "This is a very short-lived career. I have to do what’s best for myself. I have to do what’s best for my career and being on top for as long as possible. I can’t fight forever. I’ve gotta fight and secure my future and decide what I’m gonna do with my life. This is a great opportunity."
Being in Colorado will also put Dillashaw in close proximity to his main coach Duane Ludwig, who is currently feuding with Team Alpha Male patriarch Urijah Faber. Dillashaw said the relationship — or lack thereof — between Ludwig and Faber has put him in a "hard place" and he feels like he’s been forced to choose.
Although Ludwig will not be a full-time member of Elevation Fight Team, he’ll still be working with Dillashaw. Ludwig told MMA Fighting on Tuesday that he will be popping into the MusclePharm gym on sparring days, but there is nothing official scheduled.
"I believe in Duane Ludwig as a coach," Dillashaw said. "I love the guy. I train with him. Me and him mesh. When you find something that works, you keep it going. Me and him see eye to eye. We train well together.
"I wish the whole thing with Duane would have worked out. I wish Duane wasn’t so hard to somewhat get along with. I get along with him well. He’s a great guy. He means very, very well. Sometimes people hit heads and things don’t really work out. I really wish it would have worked out."
Although he’s very excited about working with Elevation Fight Team, Dillashaw is not happy about leaving Team Alpha Male after six years. He said he still wants to be part of the family there and most of the squad understands his decision — "except for a couple." Dillashaw believes the outrage from fans about him leaving is silly and the whole thing has been "a bunch of bullsh*t that’s blown out of proportion."
"I wouldn’t trade that in for the world," Dillashaw said of his experience with TAM. "It’s got me to where I’m at. It’s helped me out. It’s taught me the person I am. I’ve learned so much here. The experience I’ve had here has been unreal. But when something like this comes at you, you can’t turn it down. I really don’t believe so. I believe anybody in my situation would do the same thing. And I believe it’s some of the best training in the world that I’m gonna get."
When the subject of Conor McGregor was brought up, Dillashaw laughed and joked that it was "perfect timing." McGregor is coaching opposite Faber on The Ultimate Fighter 22 on Dillashaw is on the coaching staff. On one episode, McGregor told Faber that he better watch out for Dillashaw, because he’s a "snake in the grass."
"Maybe he is able to read the future," Dillashaw said with a laugh. … "I’m just taking an opportunity that’s given to me and I’m just trying to run with it."