UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw is leaving Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male to join Elevation Fight Team in Denver.
“I will be training with Elevation Fight Team out of Colorado,” Dillashaw, who attended Bret Harte High School and grew up in Angels Camp, said Tuesday during a Stud Radio podcast. “Elevation Fight Team came to me and they want to pay me some good money to train with them.”
As a member of Team Alpha Male, based at Urijah Faber’s Ultimate Fitness gym, Dillashaw, 29, upset heavily favored Renan Barao to take his bantamweight belt in May 2014 in what has been called one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
Fourteen months later, on July 25, after two postponed rematches, Dillashaw proved his win over Barao wasn’t a fluke when he scored a fourth-round TKO over the former champ to headline UFC Fight Night in Chicago.
Dillashaw said during Tuesday’s podcast that he spent time working with his main coach, Duane Ludwig, at Elevation during his past two training camps, but he said he had to travel between four gyms for different aspects of MMA. He said the new gym in Denver will have everything under one roof, calling the facility “state of the art.”
Dillashaw, who will defend his title against former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz in the headline bout of UFC Fight Night 81 on Jan. 17 in Boston, called the move to Denver “a great opportunity.”
“If anybody else was in my situation,” Dillashaw said during the podcast, “they would take the same exact deal. This is a very short-lived career. I have to do what’s best for my career and being on top for as long as possible.”
Still, Dillashaw said he walks away grateful for the opportunity he had with Team Alpha Male.
“I wouldn’t trade that in for the world,” he said. “I’ve learned so much here. The experience I’ve had here has been unreal.”