5 Best Team Alpha Male Fighters Right Now
At UFC 179, Chad Mendes will attempt to become Team Alpha Male's second active UFC champion.
Five consecutive wins, with four coming via knockout, have earned Mendes a rematch with 145-pound titleholder Jose Aldo. In his first meeting with the Brazilian, Mendes was knocked out in the opening round, but the finish was preceded by a blatant fence grab that went unpenalized.
Whether he dethrones Aldo or not on October 25, Mendes has proven he's one of the best in the featherweight class.
A group once carried by Urijah Faber, Team Alpha Male has become a training camp with really solid depth. Faber is still among the team's leaders, but a strong argument can be made that multiple teammates have surpassed the former WEC champion.
Here are the five best Team Alpha Male competitors as things stand right now.
5. Danny Castillo
Still sitting outside of the top 15 in the rankings, Danny Castillo might be the ugly duckling on this list right now, but he's one big win away from becoming a contender in the lightweight division.
That victory almost came against Edson Barboza in December 2013. Castillo surprisingly battered and nearly finished the Brazilian in the opening round. However, Barboza rallied in the second and third rounds to steal a controversial decision win from Castillo.
At 35 years old, Castillo might be running short on time to make a serious title run. Still, he's currently the fifth-best fighter on Team Alpha Male, edging out promising UFC prospects Chris Holdsworth and Andre Fili.
4. Joseph Benavidez
Over the past several years, Joseph Benavidez has been about as close as it gets to becoming a champion on multiple occasions.
At WEC 50, Benavidez met Dominick Cruz in a battle for the bantamweight championship. Giving up six takedowns, Benavidez was edged on the scorecards in a split decision.
Two years later, Benavidez was back in title contention and preparing for a 125-pound title fight with Demetrious Johnson. A win would have put Benavidez into the history books as the inaugural UFC flyweight champion, but he was again defeated via split decision.
Benavidez recently lost some ground to Mighty Mouse with a knockout loss in a rematch with the champion. However, it's hard to envision Benavidez dropping out of the top five in the 125-pound division.
3. Urijah Faber
Faber has lost his spot as the top dog at Team Alpha Male, but he isn't quite ready to fade away.
Since joining the UFC roster, The California Kid has only lost to Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao. With neither currently holding the bantamweight crown, Faber finds himself back in the running for a title shot. Even if Cruz does capture the 135-pound championship before Faber gets another crack at it, a rubber match with The Dominator would be a strong possibility.
With a submission win over Alex Caceres in his latest outing, Faber is back on the path toward the top. He may only need one more win to get another shot at the bantamweight title, which would give him a chance to become the alpha male at Team Alpha Male once again.
2. Chad Mendes
In 17 MMA bouts, Mendes has only lost to Aldo. In less than two weeks, he'll have a chance to avenge that loss and become the 145-pound king.
With five consecutive victories since his loss to Aldo, Mendes has established himself as the second-best featherweight in the world. Among the opponents Mendes has beaten in his career are top-15 competitors Cub Swanson, Nik Lentz, Darren Elkins and Clay Guida.
Should he dethrone Aldo, quite arguably the greatest featherweight in MMA history, Mendes could leapfrog the next man on this list and become the best fighter in the Team Alpha Male crew.
1. T.J. Dillashaw
When T.J. Dillashaw was awarded a title shot opposite Renan Barao in May, not many gave him a realistic chance of winning. However, the now-bantamweight champion proved everybody wrong with a stellar performance, dominating Barao en route to a knockout win in the fifth round.
Following his win over Barao, Dillashaw was booked for an immediate rematch with the Brazilian. However, weight-cutting issues forced Barao out of that matchup and left Dillashaw to pick up his first title defense against Joe Soto.
Now, it looks like Dillashaw will face his biggest test yet, as he will likely face Dominick Cruz in his next outing. Should Dillashaw defeat the former bantamweight champion, it could signify that he's on his way toward dominating the 135-pound class and becoming the best Team Alpha Male fighter ever.