While drama has surrounded Team Alpha Male in recent months, Cody Garbrandt remains loyal to the Sacramento-based camp.
The Urijah Faber-led team suffered a high-profile defection when then bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw left to train at Elevation Fight Team in Colorado late last year. That sparked a high-profile feud between Faber and Dillashaw, and their war of words turned ugly at times.
Garbrandt, who faces Thomas Almeida in the UFC Fight Night headliner in Las Vegas on May 29, doesn’t have harsh words for his former teammate, but they don’t exactly have a close relationship, either.
“I’ve spoken with T.J. one time since he’s left the team, but I’ve cut my ties with him,” Garbrandt said during "UFC Tonight” on Wednesday. “If you’re not with us, you’re against us. He’s in my division and ranked ahead of me and was a title holder. As far as a future fight with T.J., whoever is in the way of me getting the title, I’m willing to fight. TJ is one of them. Line them up and I’ll knock them all down.”
Dillashaw, of course, lost the 135-pound belt to Dominick Cruz at UFC Fight Night in Boston on Jan. 17. For now, a future date with the Duane Ludwig pupil is purely speculation, as Garbrandt has a dangerous opponent looming. “No Love” believes a win over Almeida, who is 20-0 overall and 4-0 in the Octagon, would put him in championship contention.
“He’s undefeated; I’m undefeated. He has knockout finishes and so do I. I had a vision quest and I wanted to fight John Lineker and asked [matchmaker] Sean Shelby for Lineker, Almeida, then a title shot,” he said. “It’s a race to the title. We’re both young in our careers. If I knock him out, he can rematch me for title and we could have a trilogy in the future like Gatti and Ward.”
Garbrandt is not only confident in his camp, which has seen Justin Bucholz, Danny Castillo and Chris Holdsworth assume coaching roles, but in his overall ability to defeat the offensive-minded Almeida.
“I’m the better martial artist,” he said. “I’m more well rounded in wrestling, grappling and striking. I hit harder than him. I’m faster. I create angles. He’s more linear. My pace and pressure is going to be a lot for him to deal with, and my speed and power will be better.”