Fighter of the Week: Jose Torres
Jose “Shorty” Torres
Pro Record: 5 wins & 0 losses
Association: Combat-Do/KHK MMA Team
Weight Class: Flyweight/Bantamweight
In this week’s addition of Fight of the Week we take a look at Jose Torres, who became the first two-division champion in Florida based Titan FC promotion history. Torres had already held the promotion’s flyweight belt before moving up to bantamweight and taking on Farkhad Sharipov at Titan FC 44. Immediately after getting his hand raised he made sure he got the UFC’s attention, calling out UFC President Dana White and matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard saying “I hope you know what my name is now: It is Jose “Shorty” Torres, before quoting some of his resume. Time will tell if the UFC will listen to his plea. For now, let’s take a look at how Torres got to this point.
Torres has taken an unorthodox route to his professional MMA career, applying a boxing strategy to MMA, and fighting in the amateur ranks from age 18-23. The reason MMA fighters rarely fight in the amateur ranks for long is of course money. Torres, however, wanted an insurance policy in case fighting didn’t work out so he chose to go to a community college after high school to get his grades up and eventually landed a full-ride wrestling scholarship at Division II McKendree University, wrestling on the same team as TUF 23 winner and current UFC Middleweight Andrew Sanchez. The decision wasn’t an easy one for Torres as he wrestled and went to school in Missouri and drove to Chicago to train at his Combat-Do gym. He made a small salary as a resident assistant at McKendree, but that basically went to gas, and his meals came from the school dining hall. Torres’s dedication to both aspects would pay off in the long run, as he graduated in May 2016 with a degree in sports and exercise science with a 3.8 gpa and he would become the top ranked amateur fighter in the world of MMA during the process.
Torres’s accolades in the amateur ranks are incredible. He was a junior college athlete of the year and All-American in wrestling. While training at his Combat-Do gym, he would win Championships in Kickboxing for International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) and the Pan-American games. He’d have similar success in Muay Thai winning the Thai Boxing Association (TBA) Championship at 125 lbs. In MMA he would be a two-time International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) champion while representing the United States in the first ever World MMA Tournament. His travels around the world for different competitions actually helped lead to him signing with the Titan FC promotion to begin with. Torres had already traveled to many countries for competitions and had planned on continuing his travel to Asia to fight for ONE Championship. He’s also a member of KHK team based in Bahrain and ran by Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa who is a member of the royal family. While working out overseas, he would meet Titan COO Lex McMahon who would offer Torres a spot in his promotion. Torres would sign a 4-fight deal with Titan the same year, one of the biggest the promotion puts together.
Torres has continued to deliver on his high expectations as a professional. He started his career in Titan FC with three straight wins and captured the flyweight title with a dominant KO performance over Abdiel Velazquez. Torres would call out Pedro Nobre for his first title defense. The promotion had offered him other undefeated prospects but Torres was settled on him because Nobre had already fought in the UFC, the only fighter on the Titan FC roster to do so, and Torres made no secret that his goal is to be in the UFC and he thought his best way for recognition was to take that fight. Apparently Torres didn’t see the disdain UFC President had for Nobre in his lone UFC fight calling him a “fantastic actor” after a no-contest was awarded in his fight with Yuri Alcantra for accidental blows to the back of the head. Nobre clearly played up his injuries resulting in a no-contest, however White still gave his opponent his win bonus for the fight. Regardless, Torres wouldn’t be slowed down by Nobre in his first title defense, winning in relatively easy fashion by TKO in round 1.
This win would setup a move to the bantamweight division and a fight for the title with the champion, Sharipov. While Torres put pressure on his opponent early, it was Torres who was dropped with a left hook and Sharipov who threatened ending the fight early sinking in a guillotine. Torres, however, managed to escape and get back to his feet to end the round. For the remaining of the fight, Torres seemed to pressure his opponent stalking him down and landing the better of the exchanges. After a kick by Torres in the third round, it looked as if Sharipov held his right hand as if it was broken, confirming that it was post-fight. With little use of his right hand, Torres relentlessly pressured his opponent with crisp striking and backing him to the cage and getting the takedowns to secure a victory. While it wasn’t an ideal performance for Sharipov, props for him continuing on with a broken hand. Props to Torres as well, who said post-fight that he also may have broken his hand during the fight.
What’s next for Torres isn’t clear, but what is clear is his passion to become a UFC fighter. When asked his goals he simply stated to be a UFC fighter and to own a gym. It seems before and after every fight and mounting wins he is calling on the UFC for a shot. I’m not sure calling out names like Demetrious Johnson and T.J. Dillashaw is his best option at this point, but I expect and look forward to seeing him in the UFC soon no matter who his opponent is. He’s obviously patient and has a good head on his shoulders with massive talent to match. It’s only a matter of time before UFC fans get to see it.