Will Team Alpha Male miss T.J. Dillashaw? | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight titleholder T.J. Dillashaw and Team Alpha Male have parted ways, resulting in wide-ranging reactions from fans, observers, fighters and those closest to the situation. Fabio “Pateta” Prado, the jiu-jitsu coach at Team Alpha Male, understands the reasoning behind Dillashaw’s move but believes the Sacramento, Calif., camp will do just fine without him.
“Dillashaw left because a new team in Colorado offered him a good salary to train there and be part of the team,” Prado told Sherdog.com. “I understand his point and I can’t criticize that, but what I can say is that we have at least 10 talents like him at Team Alpha Male. There are not only fighters here but great trainers. I’m sure we’ll produce another champion soon.”
Prado sees a bout between Dillashaw and former mentor Urijah Faber as inevitable.
“I don’t see the UFC losing that amazing opportunity to use all this hype to promote such a great clash of champions,” he said. “Faber didn’t want that fight in the past, but now he feels comfortable facing him.”
According to Prado, if training sessions between the two were any indication, fans would be in for quite a treat.
“We don’t comment on training, but what I can say is that their sparring set things on fire,” he said. “It’s a real clash of champions.”
Prado also addressed Faber’s comments regarding former Team Alpha Male coach Duane Ludwig being a racist and Dillashaw’s tendency to injure teammates in training.
“About Ludwig, as a black man I never felt any prejudice from him, although I heard stories in the academy,” he said. “Concerning Dillashaw, I’ve seen him hurt many teammates. Actually, I’ve talked to him many times about that. Dillashaw is a very competitive kid and sometimes he goes a little bit too far, but when trainers are present, he’s always respectful.”
Like most of the MMA world, Prado has his eyes on the unification bout between featherweight champion Jose Aldo and interim titleholder Conor McGregor at UFC 194 in December. McGregor defeated Team Alpha Male’s Chad Mendes in July to claim his piece of the 145-pound championship. Prado does not see the fight with Aldo playing out in McGregor’s favor.
“Chad just didn’t train for that fight, and when he put Conor down, he just didn’t know what to do,” he said. “Chad showed Aldo a big hole in McGregor’s game. I think Aldo will knock him out if the fight stays standing; and if it goes to the ground, he’s at home there. I see Aldo as the clear favorite in that fight.”
Prado took an interest in Season 21 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which pitted Florida-based camps American Top Team and the Blackzilians against one another. He would like to see UFC President Dana White put together a future season between Team Alpha Male and Nova Uniao.
“It would be amazing. Besides the rivalry, these two teams have hundreds of lightweight talents waiting for an opportunity,” Prado said. “I truly hope Dana makes that decision.”