Cody Garbrandt: T.J. Dillashaw regrets leaving Team Alpha Male ‘everyday of his life’

Cody Garbrandt knows T.J. Dillashaw wishes he had never cut ties with Team Alpha Male

A big part of the storyline surrounding the UFC 217 co-main event involving bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw is their shared history as training partners at Team Alpha Male in California.

Dillashaw joined the team straight out of college after Urijah Faber recruited him to the gym and helped him transition from wrestling into mixed martial arts. A few years later, Garbrandt arrived from Ohio with a 1-0 professional record looking to build his career by training with one of the best teams in the world.

The dynamic between the two fighters fell apart when Dillashaw announced in 2015 that he was leaving Team Alpha Male to join a new gym in Colorado that was going to be paying him a monthly stipend as well as allowing him to live closer to his head coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig.

Unfortunately, Garbrandt’s training situation in Colorado changed just recently when the MusclePharm facility announced plans to close its doors and relocate to southern California. Seemingly the end of the gym in Colorado also put a stop to the fighters being paid together as a team and athletes began dispersing out to new gyms with different coaches.

That included Dillashaw, who has now started to form his own team alongside fighters such as Cub Swanson, as he prepares for the biggest fight of his career at UFC 217. Considering the way everything played out after investing so much to leave his previous gym and relocate to Colorado only to see that team eliminated earlier this year, is it possible that Dillashaw now looks back with regrets on how his relationship with Team Alpha Male ended?

“MusclePharm decided to move their facility from Colorado to Burbank, which kind of disbanded the team a little bit. So I have decided to create my own thing. It’s something to create and call your own as well as Duane [Ludwig] has been traveling out to southern California so it’s been the same work and adds to it. Creating our own family, creating our own team,” Dillashaw said during the UFC 217 media conference call on Wednesday

“It led up to this big fight. Like he said, me and him are the real main event of this card. 70-percent of the fans want to see our fight more than any of the other ones on this card so it added up to this for a reason. It’s building our names. It’s definitely not how I foresaw things going down but it all worked out for the reason it did and I’m just going to make the most of it.”

Dillashaw’s claim quickly earned a response from Garbrandt, who disputes what his former teammate had to say because he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that his upcoming opponent wishes he was still part of Team Alpha Male even if he’ll never admit to it.

“Let me answer that for you, yes he regrets it everyday of his life but his ego won’t let him admit that,” Garbrandt said. “Let’s be honest, T.J.”

As Dillashaw adjusts to a new gym with different coaches surrounding him leading into UFC 217, Garbrandt says he feels better than ever with the same people who helped him get to the bantamweight title in the first place.

Add to that, Garbrandt knows that his coaches were the same ones who taught Dillashaw everything he knows and that’s going to be valuable information to have when the step into the cage on Nov. 4.

“[My coaches] built up T.J. to where he’s at now — they taught TJ everything,” Garbrandt said.

“I had Justin Buchholz in the camp this whole camp, this last year, preparing for T.J., getting ready for this guy and Justin showed him how to throw a punch. I’m extremely confident knowing TJ when I get in there, [knowing] his reads and everything.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.