As little as three years ago, Miguel Torres was considered to be one of the top mixed martial artists in the game. Torres was often placed by many in the top pound-for-pound rankings alongside illustrious company such as Fedor Emelianenko, Georges St. Pierre, and Anderson Silva.
With a record of 36-1 at the time, it was hard not to.
Torres began his career with an unprecedented 19 straight wins in a span of only two years before losing to Ryan Ackerman in 2003 via decision. How did he bounce back after suffering his first loss? He simply racked up another 17 fight win streak and in the process, picked up the WEC bantamweight championship in 2008 by submitting Chase Beebe at WEC 32.
However, what goes up must come down, and Miguel Torres did just that.
Brian Bowles ended Torres' impressive 17 fight win streak at WEC 42 via knockout in the very first round, taking his WEC title in the process. His second return would not be as successful as the first, as he would go on to lose once again seven months later, falling to Joseph Benavidez via submission at WEC 47.
The loss marked the first time in his career that he had suffered consecutive defeats.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt got back to his winning ways after picking up back-to-back victories at WEC 51 against Charlie Valencia and making a successful UFC debut at UFC 126 against Antonio Banuelos. However, Miguel's winning streak would be short lived this time around as he lost a unanimous decision to Demetrious Johnson at UFC 130.
Now at the age of 30, Miguel knows it's his time to rejuvenate his career and come back stronger than ever.
Posting this heartfelt message on his Facebook page, Miguel expresses his feelings, the sacrifices he has made and his desire to return to the top.
"To my family, friends, and true students, I miss you guys and am coming home in a week. The choices I have to make to become a world champion again comes at an extremely high expense. I know what must be done to take care of my family, students, business, and employees. When I was fighting in local events in small shows it was easy to just train in my own gym. The game has changed so much, every fight team has a gym of 40 full time fighters who live and train full time and are always in the gym, do not work, do not go to school, or diss training cause of their girlfriends. I have had to raise the stakes immensely to achieve a lifelong accomplishment. This message is just to clear my mind so I can prepare for my fight next week. If one can't appreciate what it costs physically, mentally, emotionally, or even monetarily to do what I do at the highest level then they can stop coming to my gym. If you ever even get close to where I am, you might understand where I am coming from. Everyone makes choices for a reason, I have a real opportunity at being the best in the world, not just taking a chance or going for a long shot ... I never claimed to be perfect, a god, a millionaire, or claim to have all the answers in life, but I do know about hard work, mma, martial arts, fighting, and getting shit done. To everyone who supports me, my gym, my career, thank you and I love you guys. Trust me that I miss my gym family as much as my family at home and my friends. It hurts to be away and not be able to sleep cause you are worried about everything that is going on. I saddens me that this is what it has come to but in life we all chose our own paths. Miss you guys, see everyone in a week when I come home. Osu."
Torres, who also runs Torres Martial Arts Academy in Hammond, Indiana, is set to make his return this weekend, November 19, 2011, as he takes on Nick Pace at UFC 139: "Shogun vs. Henderson" which goes down in San Jose, California.
After spending most of his training days at Tri-Star gym with Firas Zihabi and with Mark Dellagrotti at Sityodtong USA; Torres recently joined Imperial Athletics in Boca Raton which houses top talents such as Strikeforce heavyweight Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, Michael Johnson and Jorge Santiago.
The team, who are also known as "The Blackzillians," are trained by head trainer Mike Van Arsdale.
The mullet-wearing bantamweight has always displayed heart, strength and determination on top of a very well utilized skill set. With the bantamweights now getting their shot to shine on the biggest stage of them all, the UFC, Torres is ready to put it all to good use in order to make sure that his name is not forgotten and is mentioned amongst the greatest of all time.
A win over Nick Pace at UFC 139 can get him going in the right direction. With a new management team and new training camp in place, Miguel is ready to take back his place among the best bantamweights in the world, no matter what the cost.
What do you say; will Miguel Torres return to his early glory days of the WEC, or will Nick Pace put a halt to his comeback party?