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T.J. Dillashaw: Team Alpha Male looks ‘childish’ when they rip me

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T.J. Dillashaw Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LOS ANGELES -- T.J. Dillashaw didn’t have much in the way of a reply when UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt proclaimed his former teammate regretted leaving the Team Alpha Male gym “every day of his life” during a UFC 217 media conference call on Wednesday.

Dillashaw, who meets Garbrandt on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in a quest to regain the belt he once held, basically laughed off Garbrandt’s assertion.

With a day to think about things, though, Dillashaw believes the comment not only underscores why he left the gym in the first place, but also indicates they simply can’t move on from the fact that Dillashaw has, well, moved on.

“I find it funny because it actually made it easier for me to leave Team Alpha Male,” Dillashaw said at a media event Thursday. “They made it show that my decision was right. It showed me that immaturity and all the bullsh*t they care about, how much they care about my life, and how childish it has been, it really made my decision easier, you know? I just let them keep talking because they make themselves look like fools.”

Dillashaw, who left in a highly public dispute with gym founder Urijah Faber in the wake of Faber’s split with former TAM coach Duane Ludwig, has chosen a path in which he is training here and there in different gyms.

He’s starting his own gym, the Training Lab, in Anaheim, Calif., and has trained with respected boxing coach Jason Parillo and at Gracie Barra in Irvine in prep for the Garbrandt fight.

“It’s been fun to get out and work with a lot of coaches,” DIllashaw said. “I’ve broadened my knowledge. As long as you’re willing to soak up information and learn from anyone who is worth learning from, that helps you out so much. I can become a new fighter, I can learn new tricks, I can improve my game. ... I’m always reinventing myself. I feel like my last two fights were different than in the past, I’m always switching things up for my opponent, the best thing to do is keep your opponent guessing.

Dillashaw sees this as a fundamental difference in philosophy between himself and his former gym. While he’s no longer a part of the Sacramento gym, from afar, it appears to him Team Alpha Male has closed itself off to the rest of the world.

“They’ve started this whole thing where it’s Team Alpha Male vs. everyone, which I think is a bad choice,” Dillashaw said. “Now they’re stuck in-house, you can’t cross-train with anyone else, you can’t go out and do what I’ve been doing working with other coaches. I think its that, with Urijah I left when I was a champ. I was forced out as the champ, I was forced out, I was the champ, and he didn’t want it to seem like his gym was, I wasn’t good enough for me to train there. So it’s just been, they’ve been hyping themselves up, maybe some insecurities.”