Since retiring from prize-fighting competition in 2012, Duane Ludwig has emerged as a breakout coach. 'Bang' had mixed success in his combat sports career but seems to have found his true calling as a mentor. The former K-1 competitor served as the head coach at Team Alpha Male for two years before establishing his own gym in Colorado: BANG Muay Thai.
Although he parted ways with Alpha Male, Ludwig continued to coach bantamweight champion, T.J. Dillashaw. Dillashaw's ascension to the top of the 135 lbs. rankings has cemented Duane Ludwig as one of the best coaches in mixed martial arts. Many feel the 36-year-old is responsible for Dillashaw's success.
Things turned sour between Ludwig and Team Alpha Male in July when the former head coach claimed Dillashaw was the only fighter putting in the work to become champ. "T.J. trains a lot harder and a lot more focused than anybody else on that team -- period," Ludwig said. Since then, the twelve-year MMA veteran has apologized for his comments but still feels his prized pupil T.J. Dillashaw has 'a bit more desire' than the rest of the camp.
"I don't know what the hell Duane is talking about," Mendes said. "I'm tired of hearing about Duane and him ruling our team. Duane came here to Team Alpha Male for a short amount of time, and Duane did what he did, but I'd say 95-percent of our wins when he was here we would've won anyway."
While Mendes believes Ludwig was a valuable asset to the team, the #3 ranked featherweight feels it was TAM who put the former kickboxer on the map.
"Duane was the type of guy who brought a new style to our team, but we have such a unique team, everybody is such high-level athletes that anybody can come to this team with a new style, and we're going to pick it up, we're going to learn it and we're going to use it in fights. So we made Duane. We put Duane on the map. Before that, Duane was a fighter who fought in the UFC who most people didn't even know about."
After apologizing to the squad last month, it will be interesting to see if Bang replies to Mendes or stays quiet and focuses on Dillashaw.