If you walk past the unassuming 5’10," 135-pound Miguel Torres on the street you would never know he is one of the best mixed martial arts fighters in the world.
Just watch him fight in the cage and you’ll quickly learn that he is as dangerous as they come. He’s a technical master who overwhelms his opponents with a rare combination of power, speed, and skill.
Torres is currently sporting an impressive record (37–1) after coming off a five round unanimous decision victory over Takeya Mizugaki at WEC 40 back in April 2009.
He will once again put his WEC championship on the line when he takes on undefeated number one contender, Brian Bowles, on Aug 9. This match up will headline the WEC 42 event that is set to take place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Torres took some time out of his busy training schedule to discuss Mizugaki, his hometown near Chicago, Ill., a possible up in weight for higher profile fights, and his next opponent Bowles.
Check it out:
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): You’re coming off a victory over Takeya Mizugaki at WEC 40. You went the full five rounds for the first time ever. Was that the most difficult fight you’ve ever had in your career? Did Mizugaki earn your respect?
Miguel Torres: Up to that point in my career, yes. It was pretty rough. I was hitting him with some good shots and he was showing no effects of it. I tried cutting him with elbows. I tried knocking him out with punches and knees and kicks. He took everything I gave him and gave back. As far as respect goes, he had a lot of respect before the fight, but for sure he had a ton more after.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Talk a little bit about fighting in Chicago, Ill., near your hometown of East Chicago, Indians, for the first time ever as the WEC champion. What was that whole experience like for you?
Miguel Torres: It was crazy. All the attention was centered around me. I knew it was going to be kind of crazy. People wanting tickets and friends wanting to get hooked up with this and that. People wanting to get into the after parties. People coming to the gym to watch me train and doing promos in English and Spanish.
I was getting bombarded from all areas but it was a good experience. I would totally do it again. I live for pressure like that. To be able to do that in my hometown and come back a world champion and defend my title like that was pretty cool.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Moving forward, you’re set to put your title on the line once again against Brian Bowles at WEC 42. When did training camp start and where did it take place?
Miguel Torres: I started training months ago. I went to Vegas for two weeks prior to UFC 100 and then came back to train boxing in my hometown in Chicago.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Who did you train with in Vegas?
Miguel Torres: I trained with Mark Dellagrotte. He was out training Frank Mir for a couple weeks (prior to UFC 100). I’ll trained with Dellagrotte and Robert Drysdale.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): With regards to Bowles, what is his biggest weakness? How do you plan to attack him?
Miguel Torres: I don’t think he has too many weaknesses. His biggest weakness would be his inexperience. If we put the rounds that we’ve fought on paper I probably have four or five times more rounds than he does. I think the biggest difference in this fight will be experience.
I think my last fight showed I can as hard in the fifth round as the first round. I’m never going to get tired. He’s going to have to overcome a lot of things, which a lot of men haven’t been able to do. His grappling is solid. His striking is solid too, but I don’t think it’s at a level where it can compete with mine.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Would you like to make an official prediction on the fight?
Miguel Torres: First round submission or second round knockout.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): If you are fortunate to come away with a victory over Bowles who else at 135 would you like to challenge yourself against?
Miguel Torres: I’ll fight whoever the next person in line is. I tell the WEC and all my fans I’ll fight anybody that is out there.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): I interviewed Mike Brown prior to his last fight with Faber and he expressed interest in fighting you in the future. Are you interested in fighting the best at 145 pounds?
Miguel Torres: For sure man. I’ll fight with Brown. I’ll fight with Faber. That’s a superfight that the fans are going to want to see. It’s a fight that I would want to do. I just want to do a fight we could do on PPV or something like that. Something big.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Would you ever consider a move up to 155 and a trip over to the UFC? Is that too much weight for you to put on? Is that a realistic possibility or not?
Miguel Torres: I wouldn’t really put on weight for that fight. I would just focus on my training and my skills and coming in with a strong game plan. Going up in weight that will probably never happen.
The WEC has expressed much concern. They want to keep me at 135. I am the man at that weight class. They have big plans in the future. In the next year I think you’ll see guys coming down from 55 to 45 and 45 to 35 but they want to keep me there (at 135). They have expressed their concern and they’re taking care of me.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): So if you ever did face a 145 pounder like Brown or Faber or someone like that would it have to be at some sort of catch-weight then?
Miguel Torres: They haven’t talked about it yet. I mentioned it a couple of times. They haven’t brought it up yet. I’m thinking it would have to be a catch-weight though.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you feel like you’re the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world? If not, who is?
Miguel Torres: I don’t really believe in that term pound-for-pound. There are just so many criteria to take into consideration. I think there are a group of fighters that are the elite crowd, the elite upper echelon of fighters. To call someone the best fighter in the world it is so hard because it can change so much.
Machida’s last performance, that was really being pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world at that time. St. Pierre when he fights too. In the top five fighters I do believe I should be in there because I have dominated my weight class for so long and I’m doing a good job of it now. So much so that the world hasn’t seen everything I can do yet. In time I am going to be up there higher than what I am now.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): As a fan, who is a fighter out there who you admire from a distance, have a lot of respect for, and love to watch fight?
Miguel Torres: I love Fedor. I love his style. I love his mystique. St. Pierre is one of those guys. He’s a great athlete. He always comes in shape and is always ready to do something big. Anderson (Silva), even though his last couple fights have not been what they’ve been in the past. I still think he’s up there. B.J. Penn. There are so many fighters I look up to that I try to emulate.
In Japan, you have (Tatsuya) Kawajiri. You have (Shinya) Aoki. You have a couple different fighters that are always trying to finish their fights and they have different styles of doing so. There are a lot of fighters I look up to. Even though they don’t have big names or big names in the States or on the top of the pound-for-pound list I look up to them.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): That’s all I had for you Miguel. Is there anything you would like to pass along to your fans out there or any sponsors you would like to thank?
Miguel Torres: Thank all my sponsors -- Ecko, MMA Warehouse, Metropolix, Val-Tex Labs. Those guys help me out a lot. They keep me going throughout the year. I try to do the best I can. And to the fans, their support keeps me going.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Thanks again for the time. We’ll do it again soon. Best of luck to you in the future.
Miguel Torres: Cool, thank you.
Derek Bolender is a staff writer for InsideFights.com. He is also syndicated at FoxSports.com and CNNSI.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/DerekMMAwriter and on Facebook. Look for future articles from him on MMAmania.com.