The Unfortunate Reality of Team Alpha Male
By Christopher Jester
We could go on and on about how great a fighter Urijah Faber is. We also could repetitiously discuss how Faber wins every fight but the one for the belt. Joseph Benavidez failed in his two bids to capture the UFC Flyweight title against Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. It’s quite possible that you have to add another name to this list for Team Alpha Male fighters very soon if he does not capture a title. As TJ Dillashaw will soon face UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao at UFC 173. Will failure here make this common trend a staple for Team Alpha Male?
Some could say that TJ Dillashaw is already making his way towards following the same path as his predecessors in Faber and Benavidez. Looking back at his career, every big tight Dillashaw has come up short. In the bout to become the The Ultimate Fighter 14 winner, he was TKO’d by Jon Dodson. His fight against Raphael Assuncao was an unspoken #1 contender fight had he won the fight. It seems like when it matters most, he fails to defeat the opposition.
Maybe things will be different this time. Unlike Faber and Benavidez who defeated all competition to get to their respective title shots, Dillashaw has been gifted an opportunity of a lifetime. Perhaps this motivation alone is enough to ignite a fire underneath him to defeat the dangerous Barao. If he seizes this opportunity unlike Faber before him, Dillashaw could end the trend that is plaguing Team Alpha Male.
The same cannot be said for his teammates. Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez both sit in limbo in their divisions. As good as Benavidez looked at UFC 172 he is in a tough situation from here on out. Losing by decision to Demetrious Johnson is one thing, but getting knocked out in the fashion he did is another. Both were for the Flyweight title and as long as Johnson is the champion, Benavidez will suffer as nothing but a perennial contender.
There are good and bad things about being a very good perennial contender. What is good for Benavidez is that he will continue to add top names to a long list of victims in his campaign to get back to a title. What is bad for the UFC is that Benavidez is light-years ahead of most of their other potential prospects. Handing them for easy pickings to Benavidez is not the right move in grooming a future contender.
But therein lays the problem in Benavidez and Faber. Faber took all of the air out of Michael McDonald’s momentum. Benavidez is likely to do the same to his next opponent. They both are huge names that can only act as gatekeepers as long as their divisional champions still reign. Faber has a slight chance at getting back at Renan Barao if he picks up a winning streak again. He is more likely than Benavidez because of the controversial end to his bout against Renan Barao. But how many failed title shots would that be for Faber?
As talented as Team Alpha Male is, they have a curse hanging over them. Nearly all of them are top contenders and yet cannot make the splash they need to capture a title. With only two other top contenders with future title shots, Team Alpha Male has a chance to remove this rainy cloud over their stable. Chad Mendes is still the best featherweight to challenge Jose Aldo again for the title. And can TJ Dillashaw correct the wrong that took place in Barao-Faber and bring the bantamweight championship home to Team Alpha Male? Only time will tell if this curse can be lifted from such a talented group of fighters.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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