Over the last two months, The Ultimate Fighter Season 25 has served as a reminder of how important fight teams, coaches, and training camps are to success. To sum up the season for those non-viewers, the house is full of talent on both teams but Team Dillashaw is dominating due to superior coaching. A casual fan can quickly see the impact TJ, Duane, and Co. are having on each fighter. In further examining the impact of these factors on individual performance, it is evident there are some talents in the UFC that could greatly benefit from a change of camp. These are the fighters that MUST change to stay relevant.
Jose Aldo – Nova Uniao, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Jose Aldo, as of late, has not been the same killer that we remember since his rise to the top in WEC. For one reason or another, the field has caught up to him. He is still a very talented striker but all of his skills are not being utilized effectively. Nova Uniao gained spotlight with many Brazilian Champions in MMA’s early years. Unfortunately, times have changed, the sport has evolved, and they are no longer able to provide the elite training needed to contend. A good fit for Jose Aldo to revive his career would be American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida (go figure, right?).
Junior Dos Santos – American Top Team/Nova Uniao, Coconut Creek, Florida/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Dos Santos still does some work with his Nova Uniao Coaches but American Top Team has been his new home as of late. Nova Uniao is no longer a fit for reasons listed above, but American Top Team is arguably the top camp in the World. In this case, the team isn’t the issue but rather the fighter. It was noted on UFC 211: Embedded that JDS has the cage covered in tarps so people can’t gather to watch him train. I understand it, but ATT is not the place for privacy. Junior would benefit from a smaller, private camp working with the same few coaches on a consistent basis. A new camp for Dos Santos is hard to find due to lack of HW talent but the newly formed, less famous, Combat Club in Lantana, Florida with Henri Hooft could be a better fit.
Ovince Saint Preux – Knoxville MMA, Knoxville, Tennessee
Ovince Saint Preux has the body and athleticism to be UFC Light Heavyweight Champion but every time he takes a step forward he soon takes two steps back. Recent wins for OSP have come completely from his natural athletic ability and drilling Von Flue Choke’s far more than the average fighter. To fully utilize his inherent gift of athleticism he must find better talent to surround himself with than the Professionals listed on Tapology.com from Knoxville MMA.
It’s obvious OSP needs to switch camps and there is nowhere that captures and develops talent better than American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. Daniel Cormier only has a few years left in his career and a few weeks left with the title, so they will never reach the point of conflict.
Kevin Lee – Xtreme Couture, Las Vegas, Nevada
Many may question why the suggestion would be made for Kevin Lee to switch camps riding a 5 fight win streak. The answer is simple, Xtreme Couture is far from an elite camp. The gym initially attracted a decent level of talent when Randy Couture founded it in 2006 but as time goes on the team’s talent pool grows weaker. Xtreme Couture lists their team record on their webpage and it is very similar to their Founder’s, not overly impressive.
Ranked #7 at Lightweight, Kevin Lee is likely the top fighter in the gym most days. Lee has the talent to challenge for the title, but it will not be pushed out of him beating up on cans every day in practice. He needs to find the right people to help his skills flourish. As much as I hate saying this, Jackson Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico is the best fit. Lee has enough personality to combat the force of the boringness that lies deep within Greg Jackson.