A week after UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw informed Urijah Faber and his Team Alpha Male teammates that he will be doing his full training camp for his upcoming fight with Dominic Cruz at the Elevation Fight Club in Denver, the landscape has changed considerably.
For starters, Faber — who went on the Stud Show podcast last week and aired some dirty laundry on Dillashaw — doesn’t want the champion at the Sacramento gym any more. It seems that Dillashaw, who trained at TAM for the last six years and coached kickboxing twice a week, has been banned.
And as of Monday, it seems that both Faber and Dillashaw are open to the idea of fighting each other — something both were reluctant to do throughout Dillashaw’s reign as a champion.
The latest to come around was Dillashaw himself, who appeared on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. When asked if he’d stand across from his mentor and teammate of six years under the new conditions, Dillashaw said he would, albeit reluctantly.
"You know, I didn’t think I would be until Urijah started saying the stuff he did," he said. "He’s the one saying he’s more than willing to fight me. I felt we were a lot closer friends than that, so I put my heart and soul into this team and I thought we were a lot closer than that. I mean, he’s obviously looking for a big fight in his career, and I think I’m…I don’t want to have to do it, but you know, if I’ll be the last statement on his career, if that’s the way it’s got to be, but that’s not really the way I want to do it."
Faber has a fight with Frankie Saenz lined up for UFC 194 in December, and Dillashaw is slated to defend his belt against erstwhile champion Cruz in January. Everything is hypothetical, and much could change before a fight between Dillashaw and Faber could be arranged.
Still, Dillashaw said he wanted to get the TAM split stuff out in the open now before he began camp for Cruz. He said he didn’t want to discuss it further when the fight with Cruz got closer.
One thing that the 29-year old Dillashaw made clear was that he was "very hurt" to be shut out of the gym because of his decision to relocate to Colorado. Though he said he wanted to take the high road rather than exchange barbs with Faber, he did say he could understand the allure of the feud, and how that might translate into a big fight in the UFC’s eyes.
Asked if he’d take the fight if it were offered right now, he didn’t hesitate.
"Um…yeah, probably most likely," he said. "Yeah."
Because Faber — who had championed Dillashaw going back to when he was a participant on The Ultimate Fighter 14 and even asked the UFC to give him a title shot after losing to Renan Barao at UFC 169 — has trained with Dillashaw for so long, he knows some of the current champ’s propensities.
Dillashaw also knows all about Faber. When asked if he was confident he could beat Faber, given the insights both have on the other, Dillashaw had a one-word answer.
When he was asked if it would be weird to fight Faber, given the relationship with the other guys in the gym — Cody Garbrandt, Joseph Benavidez, Chad Mendes, et al. — Dillashaw said there would be no strain from his end.
"There’s definitely a relationship with the guys, even with Urijah," he said. "I don’t want to have to fight Urijah. It’s not something I want to do. I think of it from his corner. I’m the champion, I have the belt."
MMA Hour: Urijah Faber discusses the Ludwig situation