Team Alpha Male fighters take huge leap forward at UFC on Fox 7 with Duane Ludwig’s help

Maggie Hendricks

At UFC on Fox 7, Chad Mendes knocked out Darren Elkins in 1:08. Joseph Benavidez finished off a blistering performance against Darren Uyenoyama with a TKO ate the end of the second round. T.J. Dillashaw won with a TKO over Hugo Viana in the first round.

What do these fighters have in common? They all fight for Team Alpha Male, the camp headed by UFC veteran and former WEC champ Urijah Faber. Throw in that Faber has two submission wins in two months, and 2013 has been very good to the Team Alpha Males.

But what is it that has pushed these men to such a win streak? Take a look in their corner. The newest addition is UFC veteran Duane Ludwig, who is recovering from a knee injury and a tough, three-loss run in the UFC. He started with Team Alpha Male early this year, and has clearly made a difference.

Dillashaw said Ludwig's role of head trainer has helped develop the talent that was already in their camp.

"I believe we had the talent already in our gym – we had all the talent in the world," Dillashaw told "(Ludwig) just came in and kind of perfected it. He changed some small things and is just kind of staying on us."

Team Alpha Male has long had a reputation for taking wrestlers and turning them into fighters. Mendes, Faber and Dillashaw were all Division I wrestlers for California schools. Benavidez wrestled in high school and for a year in college. Under Faber's tutelage, this band of fighters were good enough to earn title shots, but they didn't fare well in those fights.

At UFC 149, Faber lost to Renan Barao in an interim men's bantamweight title fight. Jose Aldo knocked out Chad Mendes when they fought for the featherweight title at UFC 142. Benavidez has dropped a title bout at bantamweight and most recently, against Demetrious Johnson at UFC 152 at flyweight.

Ludwig's next task will be helping his fighters come up with a way to win those title fights. Mendes has had three, first-round knockout wins since losing to Aldo and is back in the title picture. Benavidez's two wins since losing to Johnson have him on the path back to another title shot.

Will Ludwig help his fighters get that elusive belt? Speak up in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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