WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — T.J. Dillashaw and Team Alpha Male had a bit of a nasty breakup last year and it has been well documented. Dillashaw departed in part to join up with his coach Duane Ludwig, who left Alpha Male following a falling out with team patriarch Urijah Faber.
Dillashaw and Faber have gone back and forth in the press. There was even talk for a while about a fight between the two of them. There is legitimate heat there.
But Dillashaw has also remained friends with a few of his former teammates. That doesn't sit quite right with rising Team Alpha Male star Cody Garbrandt.
"Loyalty," Garbrandt said Monday at a media lunch. "I've always been brought up on loyalty. A lot of behind the scenes stuff that I'll keep off that. He's on my hit list as well. He's super close with some of the guys, which I'm not really cool with that, but they've had their friendship built for those years, so you can't take that away from them. It's just weird that he tries to be a part of something that he left. I don't know. It's silly to me."
Garbrandt meets Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 202 on Saturday in Las Vegas. It's a critical fight for him, one he hopes earns him a title shot. That opportunity would come against Team Alpha Male rival Dominick Cruz, the UF bantamweight champion. Garbrandt already has his plans all laid out. Mizugaki, Cruz and then a grudge match with the belt on the line against former champ Dillashaw.
Those two have also exchanged barbs in the media. Garbrandt said recently that he knocked Dillashaw out in training, which Dillashaw responded by saying the story was fabricated. Garbrandt said Monday that the only reason why he even brought up that situation is because Dillashaw was bragging that he beat up all of his former teammates in sparring.
"I did knock him out and I did more than once," Garbrandt said. "He wants to say I fabricated a story. How the hell do you fabricate a story about getting knocked out? It wasn't that. It definitely wasn't fabricated."
Garbrandt, 25, has knocked out three opponents in four UFC fights, the last two in the first round. "No Love" starched rising prospect Thomas Almeida in May in a headline fight, cementing himself as a future star and the next big thing out of Team Alpha Male. Dillashaw was once that, but now he trains out of Elevation in Colorado.
There was a memorable series of events during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter 22 last year. Faber was coaching against Conor McGregor and all the Alpha Male guys were en tow. When Dillashaw left the room, McGregor was razzing Faber that Dillashaw was a "snake in the grass" and about to betray the squad.
Garbrandt got up and into McGregor's face. He says now that McGregor and he are cool and he wasn't necessarily defending Dillashaw. He was sticking up for Faber. Garbrandt had a feeling that McGregor was right all along.
"I personally knew," Garbrandt said. "I was never really super close withh T.J. and all the other guys can say that. T.J., I think had it out for me. I don't know what it was."
Faber vs. Dillashaw was once the most hotly anticipated battle of former teammates. Now, that distinction could go to Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt.