You couldn't blame UFC bantamweight Cody Garbrandt if he had reacted negatively to the news of TJ Dillashaw leaving Team Alpha Male.
Dillashaw represented the lone member of the Sacramento-based squad to hoist gold inside the UFC Octagon, and now he's gone. Complicating matters further, Dillashaw's split is seeming less and less pleasant as the days progress. The champ won't be popping in and out of Team Alpha Male to help his old teammates prepare. In fact, he's not allowed to enter the gym at all.
Speaking with Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, Garbrandt riffed on this split and what it means for him and for the team.
"It was his (Dillashaw's) decision to leave, just like he could've stayed," Garbrandt said. "It was a grown-man decision for him to leave. If we're not good enough for you, then why are you going to come in the gym and train with us then go out to Colorado and do your training there?
"I think he was playing the victim, and it's like, we're all tight with him, it's cool, (but) it's just making it harder. Do you want to stay with us or do you want to be out there? You can't be in-between."
Garbrandt says he and Dillashaw are still on friendly terms, but he acknowledges a showdown with his former teammate is not only possible - he'd welcome it.
"I talked to TJ before, and I said, 'I wish you nothing but the best, but when and if we come down to fight, I'm going to look forward to it,'" Garbrandt said. "You're the world champion. You have what we all want...We're going to be fighting each other. There are possible matchups, (so) why would you be in here watching and working with each other when you've already announced that you're leaving and going to Denver and you have your coach out there?"
While Dillashaw's departure will undoubtedly impact each member of Team Alpha Male differently, for Garbrandt, there are plenty of positives floating in the wake.
"For me, it opens a lot of doors," Garbrandt said. "He's a champion, and I'm on my own journey. I want to get a title run going, whoever's next for me, and get in that spot. That's why I got in this sport.
"I wanted to be a world champion since I was 13 - long before I knew who TJ Dillashaw was."