Urijah Faber (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)2013 Awards: Gym of the Year – Team Alpha Male Trey Downey January 3, 2014 Spotlight As time goes by in the sport of MMA, training evolves. It is evident in 2013’s landscape that a great team is a huge part of what goes into making a great fighter. When a great coach and group of fighters come together, great things can happen. That is why Team Alpha Male is the 2013 Gym of the Year. Urijah Faber hired Duane Ludwig to be the head coach of his Sacramento-based fight team in late 2012. In 2013, with Ludwig at the helm, the entire team put it all together. The leadership and new techniques were evident from the moment that the men stepped inside the Octagon. Although Ludwig was a vital part in the team’s success, the fighters also had to do their part to make it happen. The men went on an amazing 13-fight winning streak in the UFC, up until a debatable decision loss by T.J. Dillashaw in September. That’s nearly nine months with an entire team not losing once inside the UFC. Talk about a staggering statistic. The male fighters also went from guys who were known as grinding wrestlers to guys that were finishing fights left and right. It wasn’t just in the UFC that the team performed at a high level either. Justin Buchholz and Lance Palmer captured championship gold in smaller organizations. Team Alpha Male’s huge time to shine came at UFC on Fox 9 in the camp’s own backyard of Sacramento. Faber, along with teammates Chad Mendes, Danny Castillo and Joseph Benavidez, were all featured on the card. The team ended up going 2-2 that night, but Team Alpha Male’s great year and future was on display. Many tried to claim that the year had a sour ending because the team never crossed the threshold to win its first UFC title. However, the fact is that the team only had one title shot in 2013. They lost in that bid, but they also ended the year with Faber and Mendes closing in on title shots in their respective decisions. 2013 was a banner year for Team Alpha Male, but with two title shots on the horizon, 2014 could be even better for Ludwig and his boys. Honorable Mention: Nova União, American Top Team, Black House The MMA Corner’s 2013 Awards were selected by our staff of writers and photographers. Unless noted otherwise, the nominations were open to all fighters, promotions and events that took place during 2013.