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Ex-teammates Garbrandt, Dillashaw set to coach on 25th season of TUF

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During Sunday night’s UFC Fight Night broadcast, Jon Anik announced that the next iteration of the promotion’s long-standing reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, would be coached by newly crowned bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt and former champ T.J. Dillashaw.

TUF 25: Redemption will begin to air on April, 29th and will take a page from season four’s comeback strategy. Whereas “The Comeback” season split between middleweights and welterweights that had been previously cut by the UFC, this time the premise is focused on bringing back a roster of former TUF welterweight alumni, plus at least one current welterweight still under UFC contract.

The main selling point, though, is the running feud between ex-teammates, Garbrandt and Dillashaw. A soap operatic quarrel that has twisted and turned for the last two years. Starting, publicly at least, a couple of days prior to the third episode of the TUF 22 season coached by Urijah Faber and Conor McGregor came out on September 23, 2015.

Faber aired his grievances publicly on that week’s episode of The MMA Hour in an attempt to give context to the previews circulating for the upcoming episode. One highlighted by a tense moment between McGregor and Team Alpha Male coaches where McGregor, now famously, monikers Dillashaw a “snake in the grass” and Garbrandt shoves McGregor in retaliation. Faber lobbed a barrage of accusations at head coach Duane Ludwig, who at the time had already planned to leave the Sacramento-based team to open a school back home in Denver, Colorado.

Amidst this drama, then bantamweight champ, Dillashaw explained he would also be leaving Alpha Male for the Elevation Fight Team in Denver, in part because he’d be close to Ludwig and because MusclePharm was going to “pay him good money” to train at their new facility. Adding to the perception of turmoil within the Alpha Male camp.

Dillashaw lost his belt in a close split decision against Dominick Cruz in January, but reinforced his position at the top of the bantamweight division with wins over highly ranked Rafael Assuncao and John Lineker at UFC 200 and 207, respectively.

Meanwhile Cody Garbrandt’s 2016 was one of the best years a young fighter can have. He had four fights in a stretch where he went from being unranked to being crowned the undisputed bantamweight champion. He also did it in impressive fashion, with three first round knockouts of Augusto Mendes, Thomas Almeida, Takeya Mizugaki and a dominant five round beating of Cruz (also at UFC 207).

Which brings us to now. A frustrated Dillashaw issued an impassioned proclamation after his last fight, claiming that he is the only deserving title contender or else, he says, this whole thing is rigged. Garbrandt initially postured, looking for high-profile fights with the likes of McGregor or Jose Aldo, saying that a Dillashaw fight wouldn’t sell pay-per-views.

But alas, Sunday night’s announcement cements that we will now have 12 weeks of more reality show commotion before these two finally fight at a yet to be disclosed date. With so much history between these two, and Garbrandt already taking shots on social media, it’s safe to say there will be no shortage of theatrics before these two finally settle their differences inside the octagon.

This article comes to you via @GavelPro 

Richmond, VA by way of San Juan, Puerto Rico. A long time combat sports fan, Felix has spent years covering the regional Virginia amateur and pro MMA scene. He now shifts his focus to writing about national MMA.

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