Many wondered what would happen the night T.J. Dillashaw won the UFC bantamweight title.
Head coach Duane Ludwig had already announced plans to move to Colorado, leaving Team Alpha Male and starting his own gym.
Some wondered if the chemistry developed between the two would dissolve having to deal with the miles between Colorado and California.
Instead, Dillashaw and Ludwig grew even closer in the weeks leading up to tonight’s UFC 177 rematch with Renan Barao. They became roommates for the eight-week training camp.
“Duane lived with me for this camp,” said Dillashaw, during a recent interview on UFC Tonight. “He moved his family to Colorado and then moved back and has been living with me. For the last eight weeks, he’s been my roommate.”
Dillashaw, a runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter, dominated Barao earlier this year in handing the Brazilian his first Octagon loss. Despite the commanding performance, he knows there will always be those that doubt him.
“No matter what, you’ll have critics,” he said. “You have to ignore them, know the hard work is what you have to do and just keep winning.
“You’ll always have critics and doubters.”
After a loss via split decision to Raphael Assuncao, Dillashaw defeated Mike Easton. While he was awaiting his next fight announcement, Assuncao was forced to turn down a title fight vs. Barao. In stepped Dillashaw, who made history by becoming the first Team Alpha Male fighter to secure UFC gold.
Now, entering as the champion, has the pressure shifted to Dillashaw?
“Not at all,” he said. “He’s the guy I want to beat again and get on that pound-for-pound list. I feel there’s more pressure on him after his last performance.
“He has to make the changes. It’ll be harder for him to step in the Octagon than me. I’m dealing with this fight the same as every other fight.”
Fighters.com will live report from the UFC 177 tonight.
Front-Page Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports