The Ultimate Fighter Season 25 returns to our screens in April, with former Alpha Team fighter TJ Dillashaw going up against current UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrant, both men have a storied history with each other which makes this season of the show very interesting. TJ and Cody trained together in Sacramento for many years with Team Alpha Male, Dillashaw has since left the team to pursue his career in Colorado with Elevation Fight Team in a high profile exit, but now both men find themselves coaching against each other on the show. It is no secret that they do not like each other, with Dillawshaw being branded a snake by Garbrant, as well as other personal issues they have against one another. Is this season going to about the coaches rather than the fighters?
The preview of TUF 25 was released yesterday, with shocking scenes between the two coaches as the main focus of the promotion, the much anticipated season 25 called Redemption has been talked about for ages due to the coaches and not the fighters. Cody and TJ have history with each other, they were both mentored by UFC legend Uriah Faber in Sacramento who guided them both to UFC gold at different times, but now the two men square of against each other after many think Dillashaw betrayed Team Alpha Male by leaving and going to train in Colorado.
Duane Ludwig TJ’s Coach, guided him to UFC gold when they were training in Scaramento, but decided to move to Colorado to help him develop as well as improve him as a fighter. Ludwig was employed by Uriah Faber to coach Dillashaw, so when TJ announced his departure it was not received well by Uriah Faber & other members of Team Alpha Male, who were upset at the then champion leaving to go and fight with another team. The pair were always destined to meet at some point in the octagon but we may be treated to a preview of the fight on the show at some point.
Dillashaw was first seen on The Ultimate Fighter 22 when Connor McGregor coached against Uriah Faber, TJ was invited to help coach Team Faber after he had just won the UFC Bantamweight belt, the same belt that Garbrant currently holds and the one that Uriah Faber never could win in his long career. TJ had been branded a snake by McGregor for leaving Team Alpha Male, Uriah at the time did not acknowledge this, but McGregor often reminded him through the series that TJ’s intentions were that to leave Team Alpha Male. A brawl ensued when McGregor kept on insulting TJ towards Faber, in front Cody Garbrant, who responded by challenging Mcgregor sticking up for his then teammate. Amongst all the chaos Mcgregor kept on relaying the same message to Faber and telling him to man up and realise the truth.
Following the pushing and shoving, TJ then appeared from the back, Mcgregor then started to verbally assault the champion about his proposed move. Dillashaw confirmed that he was still a Team Alpha Male member but trains in Colorado instead of Sacramento, Connor did not buy the excuse and branded him a “snake in the grass,” the nickname has since then stuck with the former champion. It was then announced that Dillashaw would be leaving Team Alpha Male, to permanently fight out of Colorado with his coach, Mcgregor put this to Faber in an interview on FS1 who brushed off the news at the time. Uriah has since then publicly accused Dillashaw of doping, on live radio, these accusations were refused by TJ and his camp.
Cody Garbrant has a loyalty like no other towards Uriah Faber, who is his idol, he moved all the way from Ohio to train with Team Alpha Male. Garbrant won his UFC belt at 206, against Faber’s arch rival Dominic Cruz, whom he shared the octagon with three times. Cody became the first man to beat Dominic Cruz in the UFC, Cruz had won the belt off none other than TJ Dillashaw just after he had left Team Alpha Male, Dillashaw lost a majority decision in a five round war. TJ since the defeat has called for a rematch with Cruz, who was not interested, and now looks to pursue Garbrant as he has the belt. There has been a back and forth between the camps, with Dominic Cruz being the centre of attention, as Cruz has beaten two out of the three men involved in this situation.
The two fighters are eventually going to meet in the cage with news coming about their next fights being rumored to be announced soon. This seasons TUF is not one to miss with the action to be nothing like we have seen before, the two coaches involved really don’t like each other, which should make interesting viewing. We will be following the series and bringing you further developments as the news breaks.