"I left to find growth - and everyone hates me for it, saying I'm a deserter and forgot where I came from. Even now, with my new style, people say I'm scared or not exciting. When I was training here, I didn't give a (care) and fought for the fans. When I lost, everyone threw (crap) on me saying I was nobody. My new style is actually cerebral and smart. I don't get hurt anymore, but lost fans. When I get the belt back, they will (love me) again, but I won't care. I'm all grown up."
Former bantamweight kingpin and pound-for-pound stalwart Miguel Torres isn't feeling the love from mixed martial arts fans these days. It would seem the East Chicago, Indiana native is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. His exciting but somewhat foolhardy style earned him praise along the way to a 37-1 record and the 135-pound WEC championship. Then Angel ran into Brian Bowles (ruthless knockout) and Joseph Benavidez (guillotine choke submission), who both made him pay for fighting with such reckless abandon. Torres recognized it was time for a change and hooked up with Firas Zahabi. The motto became to fight smarter, not harder, which came at the expense of his following, as evidenced by the backlash he received after his uneventful unanimous decision victory over Antonio Banuelos at UFC 126. Instead of letting it bother him, he's decided to take the Zen approach and says that once he's wearing that 135-pound strap again, the supporters will make like Houdini and magically reappear. The question is -- can he regain the belt that was once synonymous with his name?