Team Alpha Male has become one of the fastest rising gyms in the MMA world. The team initially had Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez as its two posterboys, but it has expanded to become a real powerhouse as far as MMA gyms goes. Yet, the gym is still in beta mode without one key ingredient.

Even without the mystery ingredient, the gym has become one of the premier training destinations for the lighter-weight fighters. It’s difficult to look in the top 10 of the featherweight, bantamweight and flyweight divisions and not find a Team Alpha Male fighter. The fighters are among the best wrestlers in their divisions, with guys like Faber and Chad Mendes becoming potent strikers as well. Benavidez has become better-rounded as a fighter as well.

The team also recently added the coaching services of Duane “Bang” Ludwig. Since leaving professional MMA behind, Ludwig has become a successful businessman by franchising his name into a number of gyms across the United States. His work with Team Alpha Male helped him to become one of the “it” guys when it comes to striking. Faber was always viewed as a fairly good striker due to his athleticism, but it’s hard to ignore the improvement in striking with Mendes, Benavidez and the young up-and-coming fighters like T.J. Dillashaw and Chris Holdsworth.

So, what could possibly be missing with a very good striking coach combined with a set of excellent grapplers? The answer is quite simple: UFC gold.

The UFC is the pinnacle of the sport for a reason. When a fighter wins a title, it’s not based simply on their own skill and ability. It’s because there was a team behind them that helped propel the fighter to such heights. As of now, Team Alpha Male is without an UFC champion on its roster. Faber, a former WEC champion, has had multiple chances at capturing both the featherweight and bantamweight titles in the UFC and Benavidez will get his second chance at dethroning UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson. Mendes isn’t too far off from receiving another shot at the featherweight title, too.

As good as the group of fighters from Team Alpha Male have been, they’ve struggled for legitimacy due to “not winning the big one.” It’s a criticism shared by the Blackzilians, another upstart gym that saw a rise in popularity. The gym featured an all-star caliber crop of fighters but initially struggled due to a lot of moving parts within the gym’s wall and an overall lack of a game plan by many of its fighters. They’ve since righted the ship and look to be well on their way to becoming an elite gym.

Team Alpha Male is right there with the Blackzilians in that they too seem to be on the rise. Just check out their record since bringing Ludwig on board and realize that they still have room to grow. The current crop of stars that are leading the way still have time to capture UFC titles, and with young fighters like Dillashaw and Holdsworth, the next generation of Alpha Males looks to carry on the legacy.

Another item that is necessary for Team Alpha Male to become an elite MMA gym is the addition of fighters in higher weight classes. Look at all the major players as far as MMA gyms go and odds are you’ll find a bevy of fighters at/or above 170 pounds. Team Alpha Male has already created a niche as the go-to spot for smaller fighters, but to become the go-to spot for all fighters, it needs to add some beef.

With the addition of bigger fighters and UFC gold, Team Alpha Male can challenge the likes of Tristar and Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque as premier MMA gyms. Fighters and fans may knock on the Team Alpha Male guys for their size, but don’t discredit the little guys. They’re coming and coming fast for the title of “best gym in MMA.”

Photo: Urijah Faber (L) delivers a knee (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.