Joseph Benavidez addresses rumors he left Team Alpha Male

BY Damon Martin • February 1, 2016

UFC flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez has spent the last month traveling and training in preparation for his upcoming fight with Zach Makovsky but despite the fact that he's not in Sacramento currently doesn't mean he's left Team Alpha Male.

Benavidez made an Instagram post on Sunday night while posing with former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw as well as a photo of Duane "Bang" Ludwig's gym in Colorado where he's been training lately.

With only about four weeks to train for Makovsky, Benavidez opted to train in Colorado as well as spend a week with Team Jackson/Winkeljohn in New Mexico but he's been inundated with messages that claim he's a 'snake in the grass' who has abandoned his teammates in Sacramento and he's a little tired of it.

"Every time TJ (Dillashaw) or me or Lance (Palmer) says anything about training with Duane (Ludwig) or somewhere else, we get a f--king snake emoji and 'you're a traitor' and you're this, and you're that," Benavidez said when appearing on the latest Great MMA Debate podcast. "It's just out of control when what I was saying was I just tried to make it a general thought without any detail or anything just a general idea like 'hey motherf----ers if someone is trying to do what's best for themselves and their family and you're going to talk s--t, in real life, and you're going to talk s--t to them on the internet, you suck.

"I've trained different places with different people my whole career. I'm going to continue to do so. It's always been a journey. It's not about leaving one place or joining another, it's one constant journey of becoming the best person you can be."

Benavidez knows the whole controversy stems from Conor McGregor's rant against Dillashaw on this past season of "The Ultimate Fighter" when he claimed the former bantamweight champion was bolting on his friends to instead train with Ludwig.

When Dillashaw ultimately made the decision to split with Team Alpha Male a few months later, it looked as if McGregor called his shot once again and there's been an uproar ever since.

"People do that all the time -- they switch teams, switch coaches, switch camps," Benavidez explained. "I know exactly what reason with TJ is cause it was so publicized on "The Ultimate Fighter" with the most popular fighter in the world Conor McGregor calling him a snake. Had that not happened, the term snake and this and that wouldn't even exist. No one would say anything, TJ would be training in Denver and we'd never see a snake emoji in our life."

As far as his relationship with Team Alpha Male founder Urijah Faber and everybody else, Benavidez says those ties are tighter than ever because those bonds are forged by business but rather family.

Benavidez has been a stalwart at Team Alpha Male for the past decade and his teammates not only support his recent training sessions in Colorado but would do nothing less than encourage him to always seek out the best possible preparation for an upcoming fight.

It's not about leaving one team in favor of another -- it's about Benavidez getting ready for a fight the best way he knows how.

"Talk to me about loyalty, I've been at f--king Alpha Male for 10 years. After you're there for 10 years, you can tell me something," Benavidez said. "After you've built the relationships and gone through what we've all gone through as a team and basically as a family, then you can talk to me about that. What people don't understand, they're worried about this and they're worried about that, but it's like they're fine. Everyone I talk to supports me, they think it's awesome, and it's like 'hey that's f--king great, whatever's best for you'. Because first and foremost, these people are friends and family and it's like obviously first and foremost they're going to what you to do what's best for you whether it benefits them or not.

"People don't know what me and (Urijah) Faber have talked about, don't know what me and everyone else have talked about. So it's just them trying to sound like Conor and beat the snake thing around. I've been with those guys for 10 years and they're family so of course they're willing to support me no matter what it takes."

Listen to the rest of Benavidez joining Matt Brown, Damon Martin, and Jeremy Loper on this week's Great MMA Debate podcast via Soundcloud or download and subscribe via iTunes. 

share story