If you are a lighter-weight mixed martial artist training stateside, Team Alpha Male is the place to be. The Sacramento-based squad has been a breeding ground for smaller fighters since 2004.
However, despite all of the studs in its stable – most notably camp king Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez (Pictured), Chad Mendes, Nam Phan and Danny Castillo – none of the athletes have managed to add any UFC hardware to the trophy case. Granted, the UFC didn’t offer up the featherweight, bantamweight and flyweight divisions until as early as April 2011, but the club has had its chances.
Faber came up short for the 135-pound crown on two separate occasions. “The California Kid” dropped a controversial unanimous decision to bitter rival Dominick Cruz at UFC 132 and most recently lost to Renan Barao in July for the interim title. Chad Mendes found himself on the business end of Jose Aldo’s knee when he challenged the Brazilian for his belt at UFC 142.
The team could finally end its drought Saturday when Benavidez battles Demetrious Johnson to become the first flyweight champion in Octagon history. Benavidez knows a victory would be monumental not just from himself, but for his brothers, as well.
“That’s gonna mean a lot for me to bring the belt back to Team Alpha Male,” Benavidez stated. “If [Faber and Mendes] would have won it, it would have been just as motivating. If they would have won it, I would have been, ‘Hey, I gotta complete this triangle so we all have [a belt].’
“The fact that neither of them won it, it’s just as motivating knowing now that I have to go do it.”