Faber Calls Departure of Team Alpha Male Coach Ludwig 'A Breath of Fresh Air'

Dustin FilloyFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

December 14, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Urijah Faber addresses the media during the press conference after UFC on FOX 9 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Urijah Faber offered an honest depiction of his working relationship with soon-to-be former Team Alpha Male head coach Duane Ludwig, although he curiously did so at a questionable time.

Just five days before teammate T.J. Dillashaw's scheduled title fight with Renan Barao at UFC 173, Faber spoke frankly on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour about some of his differences with "Bang":

Duane did a great job running his practice, and he's passionate about his stuff. We implemented a lot of his drills during our set practices and it turned out great. But he was a little difficult to deal with here and there. And so actually it's kind of a breath of fresh air to have parted ways. And actually, since we made this announcement of him leaving, it's been the smoothest between he and I, in the business side of things, since he's been here.

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 07:  Mixed martial artist Duane Ludwig arrives at the sixth annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards at The Palazzo Las Vegas on February 7, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Ludwig began guiding Faber's Team Alpha Male in December 2012 and used his expertise to help fighters in the Sacramento-based gym win their first 13 fights. Dillashaw became the first Team Alpha Male fighter to fall under Ludwig's watch when he dropped a controversial split decision to Raphael Assuncao at UFC Fight Night 29 last October.

Since Dillashaw's loss, Team Alpha Male has gone 0-2 in UFC title bouts under Ludwig's guidance. Joseph Benavidez first got KO'd by Demetrious Johnson in a flyweight title bout at UFC on Fox 9 last December. Faber then got TKO'd by Barao in a bantamweight title fight at UFC 169 in February.

Faber didn't disclose whether or not the two losses in title fights contributed to the situation. "The California Kid" did, however, elaborate on the up-and-down relationship he shared with Ludwig:

You know what, Duane's a real emotional guy. So sometimes he's really, really happy, like excited, screaming around. Sometimes he's real serious. Sometimes he's emotional. He's been to tears in practice talking about things he's passionate about and talking to guys. So there was some friction here and there, but it was just very short-lived and kind of confusing, to be honest. Kind of friction, but then, like, not friction, so kind of up and down.

Regardless of how well Faber got along with Bang, or how Dillashaw fares against Barao, Ludwig will return to his hometown of Denver after UFC 173 to attempt to build his gym's brand, BANG Muay Thai.

As for Team Alpha Male, Faber said he plans to take his time in seeking a replacement for Ludwig. In the meantime, UFC welterweight Martin Kampmann will take over temporarily to aid Faber and No. 1-ranked UFC featherweight Chad Mendes in the preparation for fights this summer.