T.J. Dillashaw - Photo by Kyle Terada/MMAjunkie

T.J. Dillashaw’s Head Coach Very Confident Ahead of Matchup Against Demetrious Johnson

Duane "Bang" Ludwig has already broken down footage to get T.J. Dillashaw ready for Demetrious Johnson

Duane “Bang” Ludwig is proud to admit that he’s a nerd when it comes to studying fighting but nothing excites him more than breaking down a potential opponent for his star pupil T.J. Dillashaw.

Ludwig has been a huge part in building Dillashaw from one of the top prospects in the sport to a two time bantamweight champion after he just recently knocked out Cody Garbrandt to reclaim the belt in November.

Now Dillashaw has his sights set on another title with a showdown looming against flyweight king Demetrious Johnson in 2018.

Dillashaw nearly fought Johnson earlier this year but the bout never came together. Now, UFC president Dana White has said that will be the next fight for each of them when they return to action next year. Despite never actually knowing for certain that Dillashaw would face Johnson, Ludwig has already spent a ton of time looking at footage and putting together a game plan to dismantle the No. 1 pound for pound fighter in the sport.

“I’ve already done that. There’s already notes and footage of game plans,” Ludwig told the Fight Society podcast about the matchup between Dillashaw and Johnson. “I’ve dedicated my life to martial arts since the age of 8, this is what I do for 31 years.

“It’s very fascinating and super fun for me to do this and it’s already done and I’ll continue to do more of it but Demetrious Johnson has already been broken down and we feel that we have the upper hand in that fight. That’s for sure.”

One of the biggest questions surrounding Dillashaw’s fight with Johnson is his move down to 125 pounds to meet the only flyweight champion the UFC has ever known.

Dillashaw actually started the cut down to flyweight earlier this year when he thought he was going to face Johnson during the summer and then got his body back in line for his bantamweight title fight against Garbrandt in November.

Ludwig doesn’t oversee Dillashaw’s weight cut but he’s confident in the team put around the reigning 135-pound champion that the move down to flyweight will go well and give him every advantage in the fight with Johnson.

“I’m not a strength and conditioning coach or a nutritionist, but who we have guiding him in that direction is Sam Calavitta and I believe and trust in that guy because of the results he put T.J. through the first Cody [Garbrandt] camp and then when we were going to fight Demetrious, the transformation his body was taking in that route and then to move it back to 135 [pounds] when the Cody fight came back because Demetrious wouldn’t fight him the first time. Cause when he goes through the dieting and the nutrition and then I feel the end result in the sparring, watching him in the sparring, on the pads or having him in my class, I see how his diet and nutrition is affecting his performance,” Ludwig said.

“Sam Calavitta knows his business. That is for sure. So I feel very comfortable having Sam handle T.J.’s strength and conditioning and dieting and weight cut for the fight against Demetrious Johnson at 125 [pounds].”

While the fight still hasn’t been scheduled, Dillashaw has been very vocal about his desire to dethrone Johnson, who just recently broke the record for the most title defenses in UFC history with 11.

The fighters may engage in some back and forth chatter ahead of the fight but Ludwig never gets involved in that side of the business. Instead, Ludwig just exudes excitement that he’ll have a chance to get Dillashaw ready to face the best fighter in the sport right now and then afterwards he’ll hope to finally spend some time with Johnson’s head coach Matt Hume just talking about martial arts.

“I want to get it out of the way also so I can go to Matt Hume’s gym and sit and talk with him about martial arts,” Ludwig said with a laugh. “I can’t do that until after we fight.”

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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.
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