Castillo is one of the squad’s most underappreciated members. He’s won five of his last six scraps including success against Paul Sass, John Cholish, and Anthony Njokuani. He’s also never lost to an opponent without UFC experience. Castillo is tough and technical, serving as a difficult test for any adversary he encounters. Dillashaw can insert his name into discussion for a bantamweight title-shot by beating Raphael Assuncao next month at UFC Fight Night 29. The 27-year old is currently on a four-fight winning streak with finishing performances in his last three bouts. He was last seen knocking Hugo Viana out in April at UFC on FOX 7. There is only one flyweight in the world better than Benavidez – champion Demetrious Johnson – and even that distinction is arguable. Benavidez, a constant source of entertainment on Twitter, is all business in the Octagon. He’s a solid grappler with slick submissions and ever-improving hands, he is currently on a three-fight run including finishes of Darren Uyenoyama and Jussier Formiga, plus owns past triumphs over 135ers like Eddie Wineland and Miguel Torres. Like a few of his teammates, Mendes could see a title-fight come his way before the midway point of 2014. He’s scored four consecutive KO victories with an exceptional outing against Clay Guida in his most recent rumble. While “Money” came up short against featherweight king Jose Aldo in their 2012 tilt, it’s hard to imagine another first-frame finish given Mendes’ current momentum. “The California Kid” has been impressing most fans with his blend of energy and ass-kickery since appearing in WEC more than six years ago. He went on to win the company’s title, defending it a number of times, and is a constant force whether fighting at 135 or 145 pounds. In fact, the 34-year old has looked better than ever since falling to champ Renan Barao, scoring three straight instances of success. Ludwig is not a Team Alpha Male fighter but he plays a huge role in the group’s recent surge of success. “Bang” was signed as head coach late last year and the UFC fighters there haven’t been beaten since (13-0).
There are lots of MMA gyms out there but there’s only one Team Alpha Male. Known for producing fighters from smaller weight-classes, the California crew boasts an elite group of competitors including more than one
UFC title-contender. Members like T.J. Dillashaw, Chad Mendes, and Joseph Benavidez are more like a family than simply training partners thanks to the leadership of Urijah Faber, and the future is looking brighter than ever thanks to the inclusion of seasoned striker Duane Ludwig on the coaching front. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)