Duane Ludwig has experienced the highs and lows of competing for himself inside the UFC’s Octagon.
For 2014, the head coach of Team Alpha Male wants to see continued highs.
Ludwig has found immediate success since jumping directly from fighting to coaching the likes of Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez, Chad Mendes and several others.
“I am seeing a world title (in 2014),” said Ludwig, during a recent interview with FightLine. “I see 12 pounds of UFC gold in our future.”
Faber and Benavidez have each had shots at the belt in recent memory, with both fights not ending the way “Bang” would have liked.
“Urijah’s loss was an (expletive) stoppage,” said Ludwig, of the February TKO awarded to Renan Barao.
Faber was covering up and signaled to the referee he was fine, but the fight was stopped and Barao retained the UFC featherweight championship.
To close out 2013, Benavidez had gained a rematch with UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson for the title. Just two minutes into the bout, Johnson caught Benavidez and knocked him out – a crushing blow for Ludwig to see first-hand.
“That was a rough loss, but I feel it was the only loss we actually have as a team,” he said. “TJ (Dillashaw) lost a decision he shouldn’t have. Danny (Castillo) lost a decision he shouldn’t have.
“The only losses in the UFC we have had is the Benavidez loss.”
Finding his new role
Coaching was the avenue Ludwig needed to take after suffering a knee injury. He owns a fighting record of 21-14, including 12 knockouts – the most famous of which was his six-second finish of Jonathan Goulet in 2006.
“I had three months worth of money in my account when I took the coaching job with Team Alpha Male,” he admitted. “I was in for a year-long injury and I took it to make money. That was the only reason.
“If I had more money, I wouldn’t have taken it. But it has been great because it blew my name up as a coach and instructor.”
Ludwig gets a different sense of pride helping others get better than he did improving as a fighter himself.
“I am much happier as a trainer than fighter,” he said. “Making other peoples goals my goals (gives me a sense of accomplishment).
“As a fighter, you have to be selfish. I am not a selfish person, so this is a perfect avenue.”
So, would Ludwig call himself a retired fighter now that his coaching career has taken off? Not exactly.
“I am happy with the title I have and we’ll leave it there,” he said with a laugh.”
You can find out more about Ludwig and his Bang Muay Thai System on their official website.
Update: Since the time of this interview, it has been reported that Ludwig and Team Alpha Male will be parting ways later this year.