From The Chronicles of Two Teammates To The Upcoming Fiery Encounter Inside The Octagon, Here Is A Sneak Peek Into The Events That Led To The Most Bitter Enmity In MMA 

If you talk about bitter animosity in MMA then the only fighters that come to mind are Cody Garbrandt and T.J Dillashaw. With a day left to the second encounter between these two powerhouses, there is a lot of speculation amongst the fans as to whom will seal the deal to a bitter affair that has its own distinct history in UFC. Though the enmity hasn’t gained the public eye as the dispute between McGregor and Diaz or hasn’t been cooking slowly like Cormier vs. Jones, the two bantamweight stars have issues that have been going on for years and at times have appeared in form of ridiculing personal attacks.

With the media following the statements of these two stars like a bloodthirsty hound, in the heat of controversy, it is often overlooked that what is the bone of contention between the two and why has the fight grown so big over the years?

With these two impatiently awaiting a chance to stomp on the body and the heart of the other in a rematch that has gathered quite some roar from the MMA community, it would be only fair to have a look back at the events that made these two epic rivals inside and outside the octagon and now they are ready to avenge all past occurrences this Saturday.

Duane Ludwig Declared Head Coach Team Alpha Male – December 18, 2012

Duane Ludwig couldn’t make it to the top league of UFC fighters. However, the retired welterweight fighter went to all lengths to be crowned as one of the best coach of the world, after being declared as the Head Coach of Team Alpha Male.

The gym had an astounding record of producing finest contenders; but under Ludwig’s headship, the team managed a 17-fight winning streak. The fighters now training in the club had distinctively notched up their power striking skills.

Urijah Faber Challenges Renan Barao For A UFC Bout – February 1, 2014

Despite having some noteworthy contenders, Team Alpha Male failed to produce winners. Club fighters such as Mendes and Benavidez lost at the hands of Jose Aldo and Demetrious Johnson respectively. TAM’S owner Urijah Faber, too, failed to mark an impression. Despite having faced defeat at the hands of Renan Barao at UFC 149, Faber went out to challenge him again for a bout in UFC 169. However, the tables didn’t turn around for Faber as he was shushed to humiliation with a knockout in the first round.

A post-fight interview by Faber saw a dejected fighter calling out for T.J Dillashaw to settle matters with Barao.

Ludwig and Team Alpha Male Decide To Part Ways – March 19, 2014

The news of Ludwig parting from TAM came as shocking for many. The news was highlighted in the beginning of 2014 and soon it was apparent that it was more than just a rumor.

When Ludwig was questioned about his decision, he said that the news broke out just when he just discussed his plans of heading back to Colorado with Urijah.

The news spread like wild fire, irking Ludwig. He issued a statement the very next day that this wasn’t the correct news and he was planning leaving at the end of the year.

Faber didn’t issue any statement meanwhile on whether the news was correct or not. After a few days, he stated that dealing with Ludwig was quite challenging and his departure would definitely bring in a positive change.

With Faber publically declaring Ludwig’s departure a blessing in disguise is enough to indicate that the two had some friction. But the reason for this, still remains unknown.

On unclear basis, the two cut off their official ties on May 25, 2014. However, a significant event occurred a day earlier. Dillashaw faced off Renan Barao in pursuit of bantamweight title and successfully trampled on Faber’s old rival.

Dillashaw Teaches Renan Barao A Lesson – May 24, 2014

A home to maidens, finally the moment came for TAM as its team brought home a UFC bantamweight title. With his quick-fix appearance, T.J Dillashaw didn’t just bag a noticeable victory, in fact, he was able to shake the octagon with his apparent dominance.

Though Faber was quite elevated with TAM’s seemingly big catch, MMA gurus thought otherwise. The win was just a flicker of light before the storm and it was clear things were not good for the club.

Dillashaw And Ludwig Discuss Private Coaching – July 10, 2014

Though Ludwig had parted ways from TAM following Dillashaw’s victory, the fighter was keen on hiring him as his private coach. As soon as the news of a rematch with Renan Barao was confirmed, Dillashaw announced that he was looking to hire Ludwig as his private coach.

When questioned about his decision of choosing Ludwig over the-then TAM coach Martin Kampmann, he insisted that he was very happy with his gym and that Faber was his “best friend.” He went on to discuss how great their future together was and there was practically nothing that could cause a rift in their bond. And these very words soon became the topic of almost every show for the next year.

Garbrandt Makes His Entry In UFC – January 3, 2015

UFC 182 saw a future’s big star shine that night. Cody Garbrandt with his unnoticeable record of 4-0 and only two years of pro experience under his belt managed to subdue Marcus Brimage. The fight did excite the audience, however, it was treated like just another spectacular show by most of MMA gurus and fans except Sean Shelby. Shelby eyed Garbrandt’s unique potential and this marked a new beginning for the fighter.

Dillashaw Turns Away From MMA Inc. – May 23, 2015

With Reebok’s deal with UFC officially into effect, majority of TAM’s members fulfilled the criteria. But when the club’s official talent agency MMA Inc. didn’t pay any heed, the fighters started looking elsewhere. The first one to leave the lot was Dillashaw, as skeptics starting questioning a possible rift amongst the fighters and management of TAM. MMA gurus could sense a deep conflict in TAM and possibly a tougher time ahead for the club.

The Notorious McGregor Dares – July 2015

The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 brought forward a twist in the events that have led to Dillashaw Garbrandt rivalry that only got bigger in the coming years.

The show didn’t have any brawl between Faber and opponent coach Conor McGregor. However, Conor dared to challenge Faber about Dillashaw’s unclear terms with TAM.

The Notorious McGregor also went on to say that Dillashaw betrayed TAM and Faber by getting coached by Ludwig for a title Faber had lost. Faber didn’t pay much heed to McGregor but Garbrandt showed his displeasure by shoving McGregor. Things got a little messy; however, the mud was cleared and soon it was proved that McGregor was right.

Dillashaw Bids Farewell To Team Alpha Male – October 6, 2015

Though there were rumors since some time, Dillashaw and TAM’s tie was finally cut on October 6, 2015. Dillashaw decided to join Team Elevation in Colorado. When he was questioned if he had any rifts with TAM or its fighters, Dillashaw gave a gracious response saying that his memories at TAM were very important for him. He called the fighters there as his brothers, saying they were just like a family to him.

Faber, however, did not show any diplomacy and banned Dillashaw from being in TAMS’s vicinity.

TAM’s fighters approached the Dillashaw’s departure differently. However, Garbrandt stood beside Faber and hinted on a fight between Faber and Dillashaw.

Dillashaw Loses His UFC Title To Dominick Cruz – January 17, 2016

Finally free from the ties of TAM and with Ludwig coaching him, Dillashaw was ready to defend his bantamweight title for a long time to come. But his dreams were badly crushed as he faced defeat at the hands of Dominick Cruz.

The victor too had not-so-happy memories with TAM. Though Cruz had established himself as a pro fighter, he owed it to the unflinching trainings and support from TAM, Faber and other fighters in the club. A win would have changed Dillashaw’s strained relationship with his former club; however, his caliber was a little short of closing the deal via spilt decision.

Faber Considers Retirement – June 4, 2016

Regardless of who held the bantamweight title, Faber was all set to enter the title brawl in the coming summer as an underdog. Despite his unmatched endurance in the sport, Faber was left with little time to prove his mettle. His ability to fight impressively didn’t erase on his mounting years – a fact he was very familiar with. His appearance at UFC 199 was met with defeat as he wasn’t able to withstand a raging Dominick Cruz. Later, a bout with Jimmie Rivera provided similar fate for him, and it was evident that age was playing its toll on Faber. He fought his final fight against Brad Pickett, scoring his last win, followed with the announcement of his retirement.

Bantamweight Gold Goes To Garbrandt – December 30, 2016

Faber retired and Dillashaw on his solo journey, Garbrandt was like a cherry on top of cake for TAM. Though he needed more time to develop as an elite fighter, Garbrandt did that just that in a single stint.  In a mere period of two years after his UFC debut, Garbrandt was able to bag bantamweight gold after defeating former champ and team’s rival Dominick Cruz. His win has been regarded as the quickest ascent to the summit in UFC’s history. The win was a collective victory with Garbrandt proving his mettle, Faber getting even with his previous malice and TAM re-establishing itself as a top-class gym capable of producing champs in a very short time frame without any assistance from Ludwig.

However, since Dillashaw wasn’t in the above picture, Garbrandt settled the score for once and all by defeating Dillashaw and establishing his unquestionable supremacy.

Verbal Fights Begin – January 6, 2017

The next fight to stir controversies following Garbrandt’s win was Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt. Though the fight had not started, the verbal bout had initiated with the two taking to social media to take out their frustration. The initial topics were not so intimidating, as they boasted about their sparring sessions.

Dillashaw ignited the-then small flame of fire saying that he had managed to make Garbrandt cry. In response Garbrandt said that he had conveniently knocked off his arch rival during a training session.

Though the talk was mere blather, the discussion continued on for months. The clip that surfaced was so short that there was nothing much that could be concluded from it.

Controversy Deepens With Dillashaw, Garbrandt And The Ultimate Fighter

Following their non-stop bickering and considering how much popularity it had gained, Dillashaw and Garbrandt were conveniently booked by The Ultimate Fighting on season 25 as coaches.

As it was expected, the two left no chance to pass mucky comments, challenging each other and promising to commit nastiest moves on the fight night.

Though the show didn’t highlight which fighter had better potential, it did hint towards a relationship that was feeding on the venom of hatred.

Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt Gets Postponed – May 23, 2017

The two bitter rivals were booked for an encounter at UFC 213. But, Garbrandt got a back injury and the fight was put off schedule. Though UFC’s President Dana White tried replacing Garbrandt with Demetrious Johnson, the fight didn’t happen and the initial bout was moved to UFC 217.

Garbrandt And Faber Unleash Fire Against Dillashaw – September 7, 2017

Most of the rivalry between Garbrandt and Dillashaw was simply name calling and intimidating each other about their incompetent skills. However, the classic warfare changed into a far-reaching battle as Faber and Garbrandt held Dillashaw accountable for Chris Holdsworth’s injury.

Holdsworth got his potential recognized in season 18 of TUF. He managed to put an end of his opponents by submission and was en-route the octagon. But, till date he hasn’t made a single appearance in the cage and according to Faber and Garbrandt, it was Dillashaw who inflicted damage to the budding artist leading to an unrecoverable concussion.

Garbrandt didn’t shy from blaming Dillashaw for Holdsworth absence. Though Holdsworth didn’t initially agree, he later consented to Garbrandt’s stance that Dillashaw was the reason he couldn’t make it to the limelight for three years.

Dillashaw’s departure from a club shouldn’t be taken so seriously. However, with the allegations they are coming up, it can be clearly inferred that they are not over with the betrayal yet and the enmity may continue on for quite some time.

Fight Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw Finally Realizes – November 4, 2017

Finally the fight night arrived. With an off-ring rivalry spanning over years, the real fight inside the octagon didn’t last long.

In a cat and mouse play, Garbrandt delivered a killer right hand in the closing 10 seconds of the fight, almost sealing a win. But Dillashaw retaliated and delivered a defining head shot that finished off his rival at 2:41.

Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw Rematch – April 4, 2018

While there are was a lot on UFC’s plate in the latter part of 2017, a fire that captured the attention of media and fans alike was a bout between reigning bantamweight and flyweight champions; Dillashaw vs. Johnson. Though both fighters showed their interest, the fight didn’t realize. From thereon, it became quite clear that any other fight that could create a frenzy would be a rematch between Dillashaw and Garbrandt. The fight was initially booked for UFC 222; however was shifted to UFC 227.

Unlike the initial encounter, Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2 hasn’t created much of the hype. Still, it is anticipated that the brawl would live up to its expectations – especially considering the legacy of hatred entwined with it.

What do you think about the rivalry between Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt? Share your views here.


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