No more "yes men."
Former WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres knew it was time to make a change. After ruling the 135-pound roost for several years, back-to-back losses to Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez gave the "Windy City" native a much-needed wake-up call.
The sport was evolving ... and he wasn't
LIke any hungry competitor, Torres knew that in order to be the best, he had to train like the best. Which makes his transition to the TriStar gym under Firas Zahabi a no-brainer. Zahabi is one of the key figures behind the training and preparation of UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre.
But as Torres explains to MMA Fighting, he was basically starting from scratch:
"Everything he tells me is pretty much negative – and that I'm garbage – so I can get better. But I feel like I'm getting better every day. When I came here, I saw what I was lacking in my game. I knew how much more I could pick up and how much better I could become. Johnson shooting on me is the game plan. I want the guy to try to shoot on me. My whole strength is developed to hit guys – to force them to have to shoot. They can't touch me, they can't strike with me – the longer we stand, the more I win. The longer we stand, the more he has to shoot to win the round. So as he shoots, as he comes in to try and touch me, he's either going to get hit or he's going to get sprawled out. Once he gets sprawled out, he's going to give up his back or his neck. So for me, Demetrious shooting, him engaging me in a shot is going to result in me being able to use my full offense that has developed in the past year with Firas."
Torres (39-3) is fresh off a unanimous decision win over Antonio Banuelos at UFC 126, picking apart the hard-hitting Mexican brawler for three straight rounds with crisp boxing and fancy footwork. It was the second straight win for the former WEC champion -- the Carlson Gracie-trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylist choked out Charlie Valencia back in Sept. 2010.
He claims to have his swagger back thanks to training under Zahabi at Tristar and will look to make it three straight, as well as continue his ascent toward the top of the division, when he takes on Demetrious Johnson at UFC 130 on May 28 in Las Vegas.
"Mighty Mouse" (8-1) has come to save the day, but will he be able to treat Torres like "Oil Can" Harry and send him back to the landfill? Or will one man's trash become a bantamweight treasure?
We'll find out next Saturday night.
Who ya' got?