In this second half of my interview with former UFC welterweight (and lightweight), Duane Ludwig, he discusses his new position as lead coach with Team Alpha Male, his retirement, and more. If you missed Part I of this interview, you can find it here:
Stephie Daniels: Do you feel that there are other camps out there that could benefit from having a guy like you head up their teams?
Duane Ludwig: Absolutely. 100%. Every camp could use someone like me. I'm a very unique guy, and I feel that I could help any camp, 100%.
SD: Where do you want to take Alpha Male? Do you want it to become a Mecca for training, like Jackson's MMA, or do you want to keep it more scaled down, to maximize what you have to offer to fewer athletes?
DL: The camp is going to stay the exact same way it is now, only the guys will get better each day. Then we're going to have a couple of world title belts hanging around our waists.
For me, it's all about evolution, which is why I don't think anyone should ever refer to themselves as 'master'. I'd like to keep it close to where it's at now, add just a couple here and there. With the current guys, people that should be and will be wearing a belt right now, will have that going for them.
Right now, the classes that I teach have between 20-30 individuals in them. I don't really want to get any bigger than that. I just want to get these guys that are there currently, the recognition that they deserve.
Fighting is an individual sport, and you have to be selfish. When you have a room full of 20 or 30 guys, each person wants to have more attention than the other guys. Then you have to start scheduling more privates and things on the side which can force jealousy.
It just has to be laid out beforehand. What I'm doing is if you have a fight, within a month, then you get a little more time in group sessions that have no more than 4-6 people in them. It's not one on one, but it's not a group of 20 or 30 either.
When I run my classes, whoever has the fight coming up within that month, we work on things specific to that guy's fight, then we do a few rounds for each guy on other stuff. If I run a class that ends up being 10-15 rounds, then each fighter that's got a bout coming up gets in work. I also tell these guys if they don't have a fight, they still need to work on certain things that are good basics for the old tool box. It helps to mix things up and get creative, and I try to do that for these guys on a consistent basis.
SD: Have you been sought out by other people to come out and maybe just do a one off camp?
DL: Oh yeah, I've been hit up, for sure. The Blackzilians, well Rashad Evans hit me up a couple times to go out there and do some work, but it just didn't really work out. This was when I was still fighting, though. Now that I'm a trainer, I haven't been hit up yet, but I really want to stay where my family is at, and that's here in Sacramento.
I do have my affiliate program, Bang Muay Thai Affiliates, where I send out a detailed video weekly, where I show the school exactly what to teach, from warm-up to cool down. It's a six month rotating curriculum , so whatever class we do this week, we won't do again for another six months. I also do seminars, or they can come out to Team Alpha Male, if they really want to train with me.
SD: A lot of athletes go out to Thailand for two or three week stints to train at one of the Muay Thai gyms there. It's not a full camp, more like an add-on, if you will. Do you feel that those excursions are really beneficial to the fighter?
DL: This goes back to the case of having the new shoes and the placebo effect. In that case, it could be great for people to get away for a week or two, especially if they're having a dysfunctional camp. It could be great for them to just mix it up, but also, it goes back to trust.
When Bas Rutten would give me a combination or a technique or something, I knew 100% that it was golden. My belief in that was what counted. When Bas would tell me to do something, I knew it was going to work. I believed it with every part of me, and it was like he designed it just for me. He always knew how to give the combos that worked for me. I loved it. It was just golden.
In that aspect, it can be great, but a trainer that doesn't really know you, or maybe they're just holding mitts for you, might not be coming across as so helpful. When Greg Jackson would tell me something, it was also golden, so I just believed in him. It always comes back to the belief factor. If you believe in something, it's gonna work.
Whatever that individual athlete needs to do to pick up his belief factor, then go ahead and do it. If it's a one week mini camp, a two second piece of advice, a month long camp somewhere else, whatever they need to do to get their mind right is exactly what they need to do.
SD: Is Alpha Male going to be your permanent home?
DL: I signed a contract for one year, so yes, for now, but of course things always change, and I have my affiliate programs and stuff, so we'll have to see what happens.
SD: I spoke to Urijah a couple weeks ago and he had very high praise for you. How does that make you feel, especially since you've only been out there for 4 months?
DL: [laughs] Yeah, I'm pretty badass. Seriously though, I'm not going to be naive about the subject. I've been around trainers and guys that are considered role models. I can say 100% that I'm a good guy and that I know exactly what the Hell I'm doing. I look at it like this, if you don't like me, then there is something wrong with you.
After I do a training session with the guys, I'm there for them, no matter how long it takes. Can I swear here? I'm there to get those mothertruckers in fighting shape [laughs]. That's all there is to it. Put a bleep in there for me, because if you don't, then people aren't going to believe this is actually an interview from me [laughs].
SD: Last question: Dan Hardy has been someone that has expressed an immense amount of respect for you, both before and after your fight. Recently, his medical condition has been made public, with emphasis on an uncertain fight future. Even though you've made it a conscious choice to back away from fighting, you still battled with injuries a good bit. Do you sort of feel a bit of a kinship with Dan now?
DL: Yeah, I definitely do. I actually just watched his interview where he's talking about his Ayahuasca trip and coming back to find out he has a wolf heart. That was a very interesting interview. It's weird, because I actually thought about that a bit, how our careers are following similar patterns, me choosing to step away due to my injuries and health, and him being pulled away due to his. He's locked up a bit tighter with the UFC than I was, so I'm sure he'll have some good business ventures and doors opening to him, that will be opened by the UFC or Zuffa. In any event, I really like Dan a lot, and I hope he has a long, healthy career and life. He's a good dude.