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Duane Ludwig apologizes for 'stupid' Team Alpha Male comments, but says T.J. Dillashaw trains 'differently'

"Bang" didn't mean to bash Team Alpha Male.

Duane Ludwig said on Sirius XM last week (h/t MMA Mania) that T.J. Dillashaw is the only member of the team "who actually wants to be a champion." That comment obviously didn't go over too well with Team Alpha Male, the squad Ludwig used to coach. Both Cody Garbrandt and Lance Palmer hit Ludwig back on Twitter.

Ludwig doubled down on his statements before Dillashaw's win over Renan Barao in a bantamweight title fight in the main event of UFC on FOX 16 on Saturday in Chicago. But "Bang" apologized to Team Alpha Male on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani on Monday.

"I love you guys," Ludwig said. "Sorry for being stupid."

Ludwig said he wasn't trying to tear any of his former fighters down. He was just trying to talk Dillashaw up. Dillashaw and Danny Castillo, both Team Alpha Male members, travel to Colorado so they can continue to train with Ludwig. Castillo also fought at UFC on FOX 16, falling by split decision to Jim Miller.

"I say some stupid stuff sometimes," Ludwig said. "And they're training at their full potential. T.J. just really wants it. If you look at it in comparison, there's a difference. If someone is training a certain way -- and not just coming out to Colorado -- it's the focus and the intensity and the desire in the room. You can just see it, you can feel it. And it's just different with T.J.

"They train their butts off and for me to say they don't want to be champ, that's not fair. That's not actually true. T.J. just puts in a little extra effort, a bit more focus and a bit more desire. That's what I see and that's what I was truly meaning, not to discredit anybody."

Ludwig said Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez are close to being champion. He said that Mendes would have beaten Conor McGregor at UFC 189 if Mendes "was in shape."

"I want more for them," Ludwig said. "I don't think, I know that Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez will be champions, they can be champions. The only thing that's separating them is just a little more focus and desire."

Ludwig said Dillashaw was upset with the comments and the two talked about them before UFC on FOX 16. The coach, though, said he didn't believe it was a distraction.

"It was bad timing, for sure," Ludwig said. "Bad timing aside, that's not fair for me to say. I say stupid things sometimes."

In a sense, though, Ludwig stands by the essence of his statements. The former UFC and K-1 fighter maintains that Dillashaw just has another level of training that the other guys do not.

"If anything I just wanted to make sure I was highlighting T.J.'s push for the belt," Ludwig said. "That was the main thing. It wasn't to put anybody down. I shouldn't have actually brought up the team, but that was the people that I trained. So that's what my reference guide was for. And there is a difference when they train. There's a distinct difference. You can see it. You can feel it. And I just think if you're gonna be champion, you just need to do what he's doing."

Ludwig just wishes he worded things a little better the first time.

"You know there's a difference between him and someone who isn't a champion," Ludwig said of Dillashaw. "There's a different presence, a different aura, a different intensity.

"Everybody wants to be champion, but he wants it the most. That's what I should have fucking said."

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